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From The Editor | Anti-Gun Pollsters Twist The Facts—Again

From The Editor | Anti-Gun Pollsters Twist The Facts—Again

A new “poll”—bought and paid for by two rabidly anti-gun organizations—proves once again that if you ask the right individuals the right twisted questions, you can, indeed, get the answers you want.

MoveOn.org Civic Action and the Center for American Progress, both groups that have never met a restrictive gun law they didn’t like, paid Public Policy Polling, a left-leaning organization in business to get answers liberals love, to conduct the poll. And while results are exactly opposite of a number of other polls by Gallup and others over the past several months, gun-hating media were quick to jump on the bandwagon and beat the anti-gun drum.

This particular survey has so many questionable “findings” that it’s difficult to know where to start. So for our purposes here, I’ll address just a few high (or low) points.

The overall takeaway of the “findings” was that, to quote the report, “The NRA is out of touch with gun owners on gun safety issues such as background checks.” The report elaborated: “Nearly one-third of NRA members believe the organization has lost its way.”

This particular survey has so many questionable “findings” that it’s difficult to know where to start.First, consider the actual question used to gauge agreement with the NRA on the universal background check issue. Pollsters used a confusing set-up statement designed to mislead respondents before asking the question: “The NRA opposes requiring a criminal background check of every person who wants to buy a firearm. Do you think the NRA represents your thinking when it comes to background checks, or not?”

It’s easy to see how the wording of the statement, “opposes requiring a criminal background check of every person,” actually insinuates that the NRA opposes all background checks for all gun buyers. Of course, that’s not true, but the pollsters seem quite happy to have respondents believe that “fact” before asking their question.

After presenting such a misleading representation of the NRA’s stance on background checks, is it any wonder that 62 percent said the NRA is out of line with them on this issue? It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book—misrepresent what your opponent actually believes, then ask respondents if they agree with your opponent. 

Additionally, the insinuation that one-third of NRA members believe the organization “has lost its way” is even more ludicrous. For one thing, NRA membership information is not available to anyone—especially pollsters. To determine membership status in this case, the pollsters simply asked respondents if they were NRA members. Of course, anybody could say they were members, knowing that by doing so they could easily skew the results on subsequent questions. Let me repeat: NRA membership records are not available to any pollsters. So surveys claiming to present information representing the views of members—except for those from the Association itself—are nothing more than fiction.

Interestingly, according to some results that didn’t make the report, Public Policy Polling actually proved just the opposite about respondents’ attitude toward the NRA. One question in the poll asked: “In your view, does the NRA represent your interests as a gun owner, or not?” Fifty-one percent of respondents chose, “NRA represents your interests as a gun owner,” compared to only 37 percent who chose, “NRA does not represent your interests as a gun owner.”

An October Gallup survey found even stronger approval of the Association. That poll of more than 1,000 adults found a “solid majority” (58 percent) of Americans have an “overall favorable” opinion of National Rifle Association.

In truth, NRA members vote with their pocketbook every year when they send in their annual dues. If one-third of members didn’t like the direction the organization was headed, they could simply choose to not renew their membership and the Association would flounder.

Of course, that’s not happening. And if past election-year trends continue, in 2016 the Association is likely to set new record membership levels—again.

The easiest way to prove such research is pure anti-gun fantasy is to cast your vote for the NRA now by renewing or upgrading your membership, and encouraging friends and family to do likewise. Anti-gun pollsters can report all the “findings” they want, but the truth will always prove them wrong.

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