Reporting the polls. The quality of media reporting of vote intention polls in the Netherlands


In this talk, I present a co-authored paper with Rozemarijn van Dijk, which examines the media coverage of vote intention polls in the Netherlands. We assess whether the quality of media reporting on polls depends on the availability of information regarding the quality in pollster’s own reports. Our analysis of the quality looks at three different quality measures: (1) mentioning WAPOR items, such as field dates, sampling method and polling method, (2) mentioning the margin of error and (3) the correct interpretation of (in)significant changes and differences. The Netherlands provides an interesting case, because of variation over time and across pollsters in the way they report their polls as well as the increased popularity of a polling aggregator. Our findings indicate that the overall quality of Dutch coverage of polls is low. When a pollster mentions the margin of error in its report, media reports on that poll are also more likely to include this information and to correctly interpret the significance of differences between two parties. This effect is particularly visible when the pollster provides uncertainty intervals in its headline figures.

Jan 14, 2020 12:00 PM
Humboldt Universität Berlin, Universitätsstrasse 3b, Berlin (room 002)
Tom Louwerse
Tom Louwerse
Associate Professor

Associate Professor in Political Science at Leiden University