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Media's reliance on polling data & impact on public

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This brief discussion delves into the repercussions of the reliance of news outlets on pre-election polling data to make rather firm and solid predictions about election outcomes. Predictions that--in the context of the recent-most British national election--did not pan out as the polling data were not nearly as accurate as the exit poll data and the actual election outcome. This has sparked both national and international debate around the topic of the news media's reliance on such data, how they convey said data with an air of certitude, and how this might implicate public trust in news outlets.

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In the immediate aftermath of UK's 2015 general election, a lot of questions have been raised about the role of media and its reliance on polling data to convey an accurate and predictable election outcome. As facts dictated in the case of the British elections this year, the exit polls presented a stark outcome against the relatively unanimous claims of a very close race and hung parliament that were saturating every article and editorial piece.

The dichotomy between the exit polls and what was being predicted up to election night was so stark that many had cast doubt on the accuracy of the exit polls right up to the last hours of the vote counting as it had become clear that not only were the exit polls very accurate, but that the news coverage of the pre-election polling—and their source: the various online polls—were grossly wrong, something that UK has witnessed in the 1992 election, and something that also serves as a rough approximation of what transpired during the U.S. elections of 2012 (Cowling, 2015). It stands to reason that this outcome in Britain would raise plenty of doubts as to whether news sources can be relied upon in conveying accurate information from their source data, and how the reliance on polls fit into this discussion ...

Solution Summary

The solution examines if the outcome of the recent 2015 UK national election say anything about the media's reliance on polling data. In hindsight, pre-election polling turned out to be rather unreliable in comparison to the exit polls and the actual election outcome. This raises some questions about how news sources rely on and convey such data to the public as part of their reports and editorial pieces. How such a reliance might impact the trust of viewers/readers and what measures can be taken to avoid any pitfalls of relying on such data.