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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 16 - 2009, No. 3

Vox Populi or Vox Media? Opinion Polls and the Swedish Media, 1998-2006

, pages: 55-70

While the histories of opinion polling and the news media have been closely intertwined ever since the invention of polling, the question as to whether the media’s reporting on opinion polls should be considered as detrimental or beneficial from a democratic perspective is still open and contested. The purpose of this paper is thus to investigate the publication of opinion polls in the Swedish media during the last three election campaigns, with a focus on how the media used opinion polls and whether or not the media, at the end of the day, mainly used opinion polls to give voice to the people – or to the media and the journalists themselves. Among other things, the results suggest that more often than not, polls serve as vox media rather than vox populi.

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