“Truth test” for political ads?
Americans are so fed up with outlandish, vitriolic, factually-challenged political advertising, three-quarters of Americans believe that political advertising should pass a “truth test” before publication or broadcast.
That is easier said than done given the First Amendment right to free speech, the challenge of setting standards for deciding what’s factual and what’s not, and determining who’d be appropriate to serve as judges in a “truth test” process.
This election year is shaping up to be perhaps the nastiest ever on the political ad front, with Super PACs, candidate campaign committees, and other advocacy groups flooding media outlets with provocative, mean-spirited, and often misleading, if not false, advertising.
So we put this question to registered voters in our national scientific telephone polling: “Do you believe that political advertising should pass a “truth test” before publication or broadcast?”
Overall, 73% said political ads should be required to pass a “truth test” before publication or broadcast, while only 9% disagreed. Eighteen percent were undecided or expressed no opinion.
The “truth test” idea was endorsed by 72% of Republicans, 71% of Democrats, and 78% of independents.
The bottom line: Americans want “truth” in political advertising, although there’s seemingly no feasible, fair, legal way to implement the “truth test” idea.
The poll’s crosstabs: Poll Position crosstabs – “truth test”
Poll Position’s scientific telephone survey of 1,145 registered voters nationwide was conducted January 31, 2012 and has a margin of error of ±3%.
What do you think? Vote in our online companion poll and comment below.
The online companion poll in which you can vote provides unscientific results, meaning it’s a tally of participating Poll Position users, not a nationally representative sampling.
Poll Position is committed to transparency and upholding the highest professional standards in its polling, explaining why we provide you with the crosstabs of our scientific polls.
You can learn more about our polling methodology here.
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