The effect of neoliberalism on the proliferation of pre-election polls in the Canadian media
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Poll-based, horserace reporting by the news media during election campaigns has been shown to: influence voting intention and support for candidates; reduce the amount of substantial information provided by the media; contribute to citizens’ political apathy; and contribute to the debasement of political communication. Also, in recent times, the polling industry in Canada and other Western countries has faced major challenges which culminated in the failure of polls. The primary purpose of this study is to demonstrate, through a longitudinal content analysis of Canada’s national newspaper’s election reportage, how the Canadian media’s use of pre-elections polls has increased in the neoliberal era. It then goes on to consider why criticisms of polls and problems of the polling industry have apparently not affected the media’s use of polls. Here, a Critical Political Economy approach is used to argue that the cause is commercialization of the media.