Associated Press Won’t Highlight Polling Numbers Anymore

New AP guidelines seek do de-emphasize the polling “horse race”

The Associated Press today issued new guidelines for how it covers polling data in political races. As Politico explains:

The updated guidelines appear in a new chapter in the AP Stylebook — which forms the backbone of the standards used not just by the AP, but by the majority of news organizations around the country…

…That means, according to the AP, de-emphasizing the horse-race aspects of election coverage and taking care to write about only high-quality polls…

The AP has long discouraged its journalists from predicating stories an entire story on a pre-election poll, but that’s now a bright-line rule, positioned right at the top of the new chapter: “Poll results that seek to preview the outcome of an election must never be the lead, headline or single subject of any story.” [Pols emphasis]


This new AP guideline is a significant change that could have a real impact on the coverage of political races throughout the country. Polling data has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, particularly as more and more Americans disconnect from telephone landlines and become harder for pollsters to reach.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. That could actually be a Big Deal™.

  2. Voyageur says:

    The cable channels will continue shouting all polls all the time.  AP demurring thus won't mean that much.

  3. Davie says:

    Aw shucks, then all we'd have to talk about are governing principles and policies including their long-term costs and benefits!  And who best to implement them. That's no fun…

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