What the Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You About Polls

posted on March 28, 2024
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What politicians, such as President Joe Biden (D), and many in the media won’t tell you is that freedom is winning in the arena of public opinion. Despite decades of mainstream-media narratives to the contrary, for example, a majority of people do not believe that guns in the home make them less safe; on the contrary, surveys indicate that the number-one reason millions of citizens have bought guns for the first time since 2020 is for self-defense.

But, before diving into the polls as we move toward a presidential election in which this issue will effectively be on the ballot, it’s important to note that polls can be deceptive. Polls are easy to manipulate. This can include what demographic is polled and how a question is asked. While many pollsters go to great lengths to make sure they aren’t skewing the results, others influence the results on purpose. And, even when they don’t, the media can introduce bias that isn’t supported by the poll results.

Recent Polls of Note
In November 2023, a Harris/Harvard CAP poll surveyed 2,851 registered voters on a number of topics. One question of particular interest posed to the participants was: “Do you think you need to have a gun today in case you are attacked by criminals, or do you think owning a gun is unnecessary?”

Lawful gun owners have long contended that Americans need to own firearms to defend themselves and their families; of course, that assertion has nearly always drawn the standard rebuke from gun-ban advocates that such a thought is “out of touch with reality”—they claim this even though violent criminals harm Americans every day.

The Harris/Harvard CAP poll revealed that 63% of respondents believe Americans need to own guns in order to protect themselves. And it wasn’t just the 77% of Republicans who answered in the positive; the results showed that 54% of Democrats and 56% of independents also agreed with that assessment.

An NBC News poll conducted the same month yielded more interesting findings. Participants in this survey were asked: “Do you, or does anyone in your household, own a gun of any kind?” According to the results, 52% answered in the affirmative. That included 57% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 33% of Democrats. When asked the same question 10 years earlier, only an average of 42% responded in the positive.

This result shocked some who are accustomed to seeing polls shift in very small increments over the years.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve grown [10 points] in gun ownership,” Micah Roberts, whose firm, Public Opinion Strategies, conducted the poll along with Hart Research, told NBC News. “That’s a very stunning number. By and large, things don’t change that dramatically, that quickly, when it comes to something as fundamental as whether you own a gun.”

Another survey with interesting results, this one by ABC News/The Washington Post pollsters, queried participants on a so-called “assault-weapons” ban. With President Biden calling for a ban on popular semi-automatic rifles nearly every time he steps behind a microphone, this survey found that 47% of respondents favor a ban, while 51% oppose such a law. One thing notable about the results was that the survey actually called the proposal an “assault-weapons” ban, even though such laws target common, semi-automatic rifles, and even though about 28 million of these rifles are owned by normal American gun owners, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Another notable thing was how quickly support for such a restriction has waned.

There has been “a 9-point drop in support for an assault-weapons ban, and a 10-point rise in opposition, since last measured in an ABC/Post poll in September 2019,” the poll’s analysis stated.

Other recent polls dealing with policies and politics that affect gun owners have also provided interesting results. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, anti-gun politicians and those in the media have parroted the claim that the decision, which set a new standard for courts considering Second Amendment cases, was “out of touch with the majority of Americans.”

Based on the results of a November 2023 Marquette Law School poll measuring job approval of the Supreme Court, those naysayers are wrong. While the study found a somewhat low approval for the Supreme Court’s actions overall (41%), it revealed that 67% of respondents favor the Bruen ruling.

Meanwhile, a 2022 poll, this one by Rasmussen, revealed that while gun-ban advocates clamor for more laws, the vast majority of Americans believe that what’s really needed is more enforcement of the laws already on the books. The data showed that 63% of Americans believe the country needs stricter enforcement of existing gun-control laws. Specifically, more than half of those surveyed said enforcement of existing laws would do more to reduce firearms-related crimes than new laws.

Indeed, in October 2022, a survey by The New York Times/Siena College revealed that just 1% of likely voters said “gun policies” are the “most-important” problem facing America today.

One Pollster’s Thoughts
While pollsters for Harris/Harvard, NBC News, ABC News/The Washington Post and Rasmussen either declined or completely ignored our request for an interview, Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, spoke with us. Franklin has been director of the Marquette Law School Poll since its inception in 2012 and headed up the previously mentioned poll showing very high support for the Bruen decision.

“The gun issue is an important issue in American society,” said Franklin.

We’ve all seen polls—particularly those conducted by advocacy organizations—that are worded in a way to get a specific response. For instance, a common one asks something like: “Assault weapons have been used in 578 mass shootings this year and in nearly every school massacre. Are you in favor of banning these weapons of mass destruction?”

Franklin said it’s also possible for pollsters to skew results when asking an unbiased question by simply asking biased questions before they ask a certain question.

“Most reputable pollsters will provide the exact question as asked, but they may not provide all of the questions that were asked in the survey,” he said. “So, the questions you asked before a question may frame the way you see the question.”



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