IMPRESS, the UK’s independent press regulator, and MRS have published a consultation on guidance for journalists reporting on opinion polls.

The guidance was launched on 6 November. The Chairman of the Select Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media behind “The politics of polling” report, Baron Lipsey chaired a roundtable of industry insiders to discuss the key challenges of reporting on elections and accurately writing about surveys and polls.  

IMPRESS and MRS are inviting responses to the consultation and feedback on the document until 20 November using the online form.

Jane Frost CBE, Chief Executive of MRS, said: “With a general election just around the corner and the possibility of another referendum beyond that, political polling has been thrown into the spotlight once again as people search for assurances and try to gauge voter sentiment.  We encourage all journalists to use this draft guidance to support their reporting in the coming weeks, to help them understand research issued by polling companies and ensure that they are reflecting the findings accurately in their reporting.  Let us know how it is helpful as well as where it can be improved – there can be no better time to put it to the test.”

Ed Procter, Chief Operating Officer at IMPRESS, said: “High-quality public interest journalism is a cornerstone of a healthy functioning democracy, particularly around election time when the public needs accountable and accurate information to navigate political messaging and misinformation. We know journalists want to report responsibly, so our hope is that this guidance will be a useful resource to them and helps to improve reporting on complex issues such as research and polling. We also want to hear from journalists, experts and members of the public and understand how this guidance can be enhanced, which is why we have opened it up to public consultation.”

Guidance and useful resources for journalists and media

Reporting polls

Understanding polls

Use of Polling Results

JOURNAL: The challenges of accurately measuring public opinion

This special issue of the IJMR is dedicated to opinion polling and has been made available to the public as part of this MRS / IMPRESS initiative.

Other resources

Watch an interview with Sir John Curtice 

Interviewed by Research Live in December 2017, the political scientist Sir John Curtice discusses people’s sense of identity and how allegiances to political parties are changing in the UK.


Get the latest MRS news

Our newsletters cover the latest MRS events, policy updates and research news.