Information about the support given by the public opinion to political actors has become a constant element of the public debate in Poland after the fall of Communism. Very soon polls became an argument in debates, a premise, or a way to justify decisions. At the same time they were criticized both by politicians and journalists convinced that polls can significantly influence the election results. But the fact was not noticed in Poland that all debates about the influence of polls on election outcomes should be preceded by a discussion of the way they are presented in the media. The present article joins this debate by subjecting to analysis the polls published in the Polish press during parliamentary campaigns in the dimensions of the role they played during the recent several years, the quality of methodological information, and of the way the polls were used in the media.
As opposed to European and American analyses, no improvement in the conformity to standards of minimal disclosure in newspapers’ reporting of public opinion polls was noticed, although—like in other countries—a dramatic increase in the number of polls reported was observed.