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Polls are a popular tool to measure anything from voting intention to public opinion about the latest government policy.

However, reporting on polls can be far more complicated than it first seems. Not only journalists need to be aware of the margin of error, they also have to pay attention to the method used and quality of the surveyed sample. 

To help you out, Denise-Marie Ordway of Journalists’s Resource rounded up these eleven questions journalists should ask when reporting on public opinion polls.

“When covering polls, it’s important for journalists to try to gauge the quality of a poll and make sure claims made about the results actually match the data collected.

“Sometimes, pollsters overgeneralise or exaggerate their findings. Sometimes, flaws in the way they choose participants or collect data make it tough to tell what the results really mean,” she writes.

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