Are there laws restricting polls, similar to laws restricting advertisements?

Polls can ask questions that contain false premises, or an hypothetical assumption that is so unlikely that just saying "what if" is in itself a claim that the hypothesis is not absurd on its face, which could be seen as a lie. They can present options that don't exist in the real world, or can't possibly exist or inherently don't make sense and are logically absurd, to the point of "duh, it isn't a thing" (like paying for "renewable" energy).

Are there laws either restricting the question, or forcing pollster to at least propose as an answer "your assertions is false" or "your assertion is not even wrong" or "I reject your question" or "you don't even make sense" or "your terminology is confused" or "you need a crash course on X".

Note that "I have no opinion" is categorically not a rejection of the question. It suggest that the person answering the question gave little thought to the issue, not that the person asking gave no thought to the issue what-so-ever.

Other possible lies in polls are list of politicians you will vote or either voted for that are incomplete and without an option "other".

This is especially critical in connection to elections, but not limited to election campaigns or things politicians campaign on. The issue is implicit advocacy in a biased poll later used to say "most people push x or say y or reject z".

(I guess in the US, this could either fall under FEC, FTC, FCC... any agency that regulates any form of communication.)

  • There are "laws restricting advertisements"? Really? Nov 6, 2019 at 5:15
  • 1
    definitely in the U.S. and I think more strict in the U.K. Regulations of False Advertising The federal Lanham Act allows civil lawsuits for false advertising that “misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin” of goods or services. 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). The FTC also enforces false advertising laws on behalf of consumers. Nov 6, 2019 at 5:28
  • There are zillions of laws restricting advertising.
    – user6726
    Nov 6, 2019 at 5:28
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    No and, in fact, the polls of the type you mention in this question are actually a well-known political strategy. For more info, google “push polls”.
    – A.fm.
    Nov 7, 2019 at 16:59

1 Answer 1



I assume you are concerned about this?

Restraints on deceptive and misleading conduct, where they exist, are almost always limited to conduct in trade or commerce (such as advertising) - otherwise its an unreasonable infringement of freedom of speech.

  • Political ads are not regulated?
    – curiousguy
    Nov 6, 2019 at 5:59
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    @curiousguy yes they are - but not for factual accuracy
    – Dale M
    Nov 6, 2019 at 10:21

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