IMPRESS and MRS publish guidance on reporting on opinion polls ahead of general election

IMPRESS, the UK’s independent press regulator, and MRS (Market Research Society), have released guidance on ‘Using surveys and polling data in your journalism’.

After a consultation period which took place between 6 November and 20 November, the final guidance is here: 

>> Download the guidance: Using Polls and Surveys in your Journalism (PDF)

The guidance covers different aspects of using quantitative data, including the main challenges journalists can encounter when working with polling and survey data – as well as good practice to responsible reporting. Other issues covered by the guidance include: how to asses and deal with bias, common mistakes, a checklist of what reliable and unreliable data might look like, and further support and guidance information.

IMPRESS and MRS would like to thank all those who participated in the consultation and encourage all members of the public, journalists and interested parties to continue to engage with the guidance. A Quick Guide to using surveys and polling data in journalism has also been produced as a helpful reminder of basic pitfalls to avoid.

Jane Frost CBE, Chief Executive of MRS, commented:

“With a general election just around the corner and the possibility of another referendum beyond that, political polling has been thrown into the spotlight once again as people search for assurances and try to gauge voter sentiment. We encourage all journalists to use this guidance to support their reporting in the coming weeks, to help them understand research issued by polling companies and ensure that they are reflecting the findings accurately in their reporting.  Journalists are busy people, so our Quick Guide is also there as a helpful aide-memoire and checklist to avoid those basic pitfalls.”

Ed Procter, Chief Operating Officer at IMPRESS, commented:

“High-quality public interest journalism is a cornerstone of a healthy functioning democracy, particularly around election time when the public needs accountable and accurate information to navigate political messaging and misinformation. We know journalists want to report responsibly, so our hope is that this guidance will be a useful resource to them and helps to improve reporting on complex issues such as research and polling. We want to thank all of those who participated in the consultation leading to the publication of this guidance, and we encourage journalists, experts and members of the public to continue to engage with it.”



IMPRESS regulates over 135 publications from across the UK. It provides publishers and journalists with the protection and support they need to do their job. IMPRESS offers complaints adjudication, free arbitration, a comprehensive insurance scheme and a progressive Standards Code, as well as an open code review process in which all members of the public can take part. IMPRESS works in partnership with the public, publishers and key stakeholders to raise the standards of journalism in the UK.



For further information, please contact:

Clara Aguirre: / 020 3325 4290