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News organizations conduct or sponsor public opinion research as part of their ongoing news coverage, including but not limited to election campaign coverage. Media polls, also called “news polls,” have attained wide prevalence as a reporting tool but also remain a focus of debate and occasional controversy. Media polls are a central part of what Philip Meyer has explained as “precision journalism.”

News may be denned as timely information, professionally gathered and presented, about events and conditions that affect or interest an audience. It can include what people do and also what people think. Polls provide a systematic means of evaluating both, elevating anecdote about behavioral and attitudinal trends into empirically based analysis.

News organizations long have reported—and continue to report—characterizations of public preferences without the use ...

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