The inclusion of methodological information in poll-based news: how do Spanish newspapers conform to professional recommendations and legal requirements?
Opinion polls are widely reported in the media, and special attention is often paid to preelection polls in order to protect voters¿ interests, as well as to preserve the research industry¿s credibility. In accordance with these two purposes, professional associations publish guidelines for journalists on how to report the underlying methodological details of opinion polls/surveys. In Spain, such details are even legally required for poll news
reporting. But to what extent news outlets follow these professional recommendations and legal requirements? Based on a content analysis of poll news reporting in five Spanish newspapers before the 2012 Catalonian Parliament election, this article attempts to answer that question. The results show that basic methodological information was present in almost two-thirds of the sampled news stories. The newspapers tend to do better when they commission the reported polls. However, some vital information was still missing or mistaken, highlighting the need for collaboration between pollsters and journalists.