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Polls And Politics Essay, Research Paper

Polls: and Politics

The Media s Drive in Politics

The media is a major factor in politics. The media feeds the American public

Information on politics though newspapers, television, and radio. The media is especially crucial during an election year. Polls, campaigning, and the love-hate affair between the media and politicians change from day-to-day.


A poll is a survey used by the media to measure public opinion on a certain issue, or to rate a candidate in a political election. Polls are sometime big predictors in an election. The news media often misrepresents or misinterprets polls either because they take them too literal or to the extreme. To some degree, the problems of understanding a poll prediction is unique. The difficulty of the task reflects a more unbalanced research method on witch the media has become increasingly dependent. The media can underestimate the complexity of their own polls. Election surveys are uncertain, many people from election surveys change their minds before voting, and many people who say they plan on voting do not bother showing up on election day. Many questions are asked in a poll; for example a voter may be asked what political party in witch they are members and who they are likely going to vote for on election day. Voters can answer these questions in three different ways, directly, indirectly by stating other,” or undecided.

Exit polls are a major tool used by the media to predict the outcome of an election. An exit poll is taken outside the voting booths after an individual has cast their vote. Voters may be asked many questions but most importantly who or what they voted for.


During an election an election year it is the media s obligation to give a candidate an equal amount of publicity in the news. This issue came up in the 1992 presidential election. President Bush complained that Democratic candidate Bill Clinton and Independent candidate Ross Perot were receiving all the media attention. President Brush also claimed the media was not treating him fairly. In fact studies taken after the election shown that 53% of the public believed that the media was less critical when portraying President Clinton than President Bush; even with Clinton s alleged marijuana use. The media is not required by law to give each candidate equal amount of attention and the rate of the amount of publicity does change from candidate to candidate. The media does however have an ethical obligation to remain unbiased in the coverage of a political campaign.


Politicians often complain about the constant focus on them from the media, Fact is, that a public servant has no personal life, with public service come sacrifice. Said Richmond Rawls from Minnesota life magazine after Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota. This opinion is not shared threw out the press community. The media has been accused of crossing the lines from genuine news to making a mockery of the U. S. political system in such newspapers and magazines such as tabloids. Tabloids are not a part of main stream media but do play a part in politics. Tabloids publish stories built on speculation and rumor with vary little fact. According to Forum magazine Tabloids are more interested in sensationalism than the issues. This opinion may be true but tabloids have given birth to many grounds breaking political stories; most tabloid stories are rejected from major newspapers and broadcast stations because of lack of credibility. The Watergate innocent in the 1970 s was rejected by the Washington Post but did appear in smaller tabloid publications before the story finally broke.

The media has always been a big part of politics. The power has been used to the advantages as some politicians such as Jesse Ventura. Venture used the media to shift the focus from his inexperience in public office, to his fame as an actor and professional athlete. The media can also be a politician s worst nightmare as in the case of President Clinton. After the story broke about the alleged affair with Monica Lewinski the media ran marathon coverage of the story ruining Clinton s credibility with the public.

The media has its hands in all parts of politics. From campaigning or just the day to day life of a politician the media is there, bringing the American public the news on important public event and keeping a watchful eye on our elected officials. If it wasn t for us, the media, the pubic watchdog, if it wasn t for us there would be no democracy. Peter Jennings ABC News 1964.

Leo Bogart, Polls and the Awareness of Public opinion,

New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books. 1995

Michael S. Lewis-Beck and Tom W. Rice Forecasting Elections,

Washington, DC: Quarterly press, 1992

Evans Witt and Sheldon Gawiser, A Guide to Public Opinion Polls

New York: Praeger, 1994.

October 1998, Glamour Magazine, Do You Trust the Media no By-line.

August 1998, Forum Magazine, Politics, Polls And Poltergeist Leo Bogart.

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