Public Opinion Polls and Experts in Election News

Guðbjörg Hildur Kolbeins

Abstract


By employing the theoretical framework of framing, the present paper attempts to examine the Icelandic media’s coverage of the 2013 parliamentary election by paying particular attention to coverage of public opinion polls and the policies of the political parties, i.e. the “horse-race” frame and the issue frame, and to examine media’s reliance on experts for interpretation of election news. Seven online news media, two newspapers, two radio stations and two television channels were monitored for 25 days prior to Election Day, i.e. from April 2 to April 26, 2013, - resulting in 1377 election news stories. The findings show, for example, that 29.8% of all the election news stories had public opinion polls as their primary angle while 12% of the stories were primarily issue-oriented. In addition, the media rely on experts for interpretation of the polls; five of the 10 most interviewed or quoted sources on public opinion surveys were political science experts who were affiliated with universities. Finally, news coverage of polls was generally amplified as media outlets had a tendency to report on public opinion polls that were commissioned by other media.

Keywords


Election news; framing; public opinion polls; "horse-race"; experts.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2016.12.1.7

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