Updating our polling guidance
The new chapter, available immediately to AP Stylebook Online subscribers, leads with longstanding guidance that the mere existence of a poll is not enough to make news. It adds that “poll results that seek to preview the outcome of an election must never be the lead, headline or single subject of any story.”
A good pre-election poll can provide solid insight into what voters are thinking. In the heat of a campaign, that’s why they are so often intoxicating for journalists, for campaign staffers and, yes, for candidates, too. But the 2016 election was a reminder that polls aren’t perfect. They’re unquestionably a piece of the story, but never the whole story. The Stylebook update aims to serve as a steady reminder of that fact.
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