CNN announces tighter polling standards for 2020 race

CNN has tightened its polling standards for surveys of the 2020 presidential field as the race intensifies, the network announced Tuesday.

CNN plans to apply 16 questions to all polls to determine whether it meets the network’s standards for a reliable survey and warrants coverage, according to the announcement.


The questions include which firm conducted the survey, how many people were interviewed, the languages in which they were interviewed, the date range and the full text and interviewer instructions or programming for all questions.

CNN will also ask pollsters how many callback attempts were made to a sampled number in the case of telephone surveys and what “universe” of people the poll attempts to survey, according to the network.

The network said it will not cover polls conducted by robocalls rather than live interviewers or those conducted by firms with a financial or political conflict of interest. It will also exclude polling based on unrepresentative sample sources or those that allow anyone who chooses to participate.

CNN will also exclude polls that are conducted without accounting for respondents who take surveys through cellphones, either by phone or online, and surveys on certain topics which do not ensure that respondents of all education levels are incorporated.

“A poll’s existence alone does not make it news, and journalists shouldn’t be any more credulous about numbers than they are about words,” the announcement states. “CNN’s standards mean that polls covered by CNN have been thoroughly checked out.”

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