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How the same ComRes sample wanted both statutory media regulation AND a press not restricted by legally binding rules

November 29th, 2012

Whatever side you are on there’s something for you in this poll

A ComRes online poll for ITV News overnight neatly sums up the dilemma over press regulation. Look at the chart above.

    When asked “In light of the Leveson Inquiry the Government should introduce statutory regulation of the media” those in the ComRes sample agreed by 51% to 20%. So emphatic support for control? Perhaps not.

    When asked a couple of questions later whether they agreed with the statement “It is very important for British democracy that a free press is not restricted by legally binding rules and regulations” the pollster found that 42% said they did to 29% who said they didn’t.

The wording of the questions in both cases, I would suggest, is leading but in different directions. The first is prefaced by reminding respondents of the Leveson inquiry while the second has the phrasing about the need for a free press in a democracy.

    What this demonstrates are the limitations of polling and why you need to look at all aspects very closely.

No doubt the debate will start at lunch-time when the 2000 page report is published.

Mike Smithson

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