Abstract

This article deals with the quality of political poll reports in the Swiss print media. A content analysis of 31 different papers reveals that the methodological information given in newspaper articles is more elaborate when papers use various devices such as information boxes. When polls are reported that other papers or organizations financed, methodological information is scarce. Beyond such formal criteria, a case study shows that aspects of measurement and specification errors must also be taken into account, which are highly relevant in the conceptualization of polls and within the press-polling connection. Consequently, two different practical suggestions for improvement are outlined: whereas the first is directed at the press and stresses the graphic possibilities of the print media and the role of news agencies as important distribution channels, the second refers to pollsters who have to maintain intellectual quality criteria and can contribute substantially to the improvement of media reporting by implementing different disclosure practices in their tables and reports.

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