Like I said in my first article since the first day of election month (Nov. 3rd), it is pretty obvious that polls are not to be trusted. Granted, I have said this plenty more times before then, really since around 2016 when the polls showed Hillary would win that election but Trump ended up winning, but the point remains that there is no doubt in mind that polls are not in any way accurate.
Similarly, I suspect the same of a recent Gallup poll which shows that support for stricter gun laws are at their lowest level since 2016.
57% of respondents said that they would prefer stricter gun laws than what we currently have, which like I just said, is a four-year low. The record low was in 2012 when just 43% said they wanted stricter gun control laws, and was actually a point lower than the amount of people who wanted gun laws to remain as they were. It went back up to 58% following the Sandy Hook shooting and the most recent high was of 67% support back in 2018, likely following the Parkland shooting.
34% currently support maintaining gun laws as they are and 9% support less strict gun control laws.
Gallup reports that they had “been tracking the public’s views on this measure since 1990, when a record-high 78% of Americans supported stricter laws for gun sales as the nation’s crime rate was rising. A majority of Americans held that position until 2008.”
Support for handgun bans also remains low, at around 25%. This makes some sense because even liberals who support AR-15 bans and such express support for people owning handguns (largely because they ascertain that “you don’t need an AR-15 to defend yourself or your home,” despite the fact that AR-15s are very efficient at that).
However, even despite the numbers that we see throughout the poll, I can’t help but think about how every single other poll about roughly every other topic suffers from the oversampling of Democrats and undersampling of Republicans in order to skew results, and I can’t help but think about how this poll could also be suffering from the same thing.
While Gallup included a demographic of gun owners, with 57% saying they wanted gun laws to remain as they are and 17% want less strict gun laws, I doubt they surveyed an equal amount of gun owners and non-gun owners.
And I’m not just talking about this recent poll, either. I begin to call into question every other result from this poll beginning from 1990, as well as the results of just about every other poll.
A recent NRA-ILA article pointed out the following:
“Economist John Lott contends that many Americans refuse to answer or do not answer truthfully when asked about whether they own a firearm… Lott noted ‘current events influence people’s willingness to acknowledge gun ownership. After mass shootings, a sudden drop can be seen in the polling numbers.’ Wake Forest Professor of Sociology David Yamane shares Lott’s belief that inaccurate polling systematically underestimates gun ownership in the U.S. In a 2019 piece… Yamane laid out the case for systematic underreporting and provided a bevy of reasons why gun owners would be reluctant to be truthful with pollsters. The professor noted, ‘My educated guess is that the underestimate is at least 10%, that 25% would not be an unreasonable amount, and more than 25% is likely.”
This does not surprise me in the least bit, since I can point to many polls which likely have this happen, where a surveyor refuses to answer a question because they do not wish to receive any backlash or will actually lie for the same reasons.
Remember that article about the Oakland residents both exclaiming support for “defund the police” and expressing that they wish for the police force to either remain the same or increase in numbers? That poll, like I talked about in the article, is most easily and perhaps logically explained by the sort of phenomenon that likely plagues a lot of other polls including this one: people lying to pollsters about what they believe.
Especially in Oakland, if it’s discovered that one does not support the “defund the police” movement, they are likely to face some sort of retribution from a number of people. Likewise, I suspect plenty of people fear showing themselves to either be gun owners or be in support of gun ownership, so they lie to the pollsters about their true beliefs.
Since this can reasonably be expected from these recent polls, it’s hard to tell if all other polls are equally flawed. Who knows, maybe back in 1990, when the high was at 78%, that was not a true result. Maybe a lot of people had fear of retribution back then as well and did not want to express support for gun ownership or for less strict gun laws. And as Lott noted, after a shooting, the amount of people who say they own guns drops dramatically because they do not want to be persecuted against or associated with the shooter(s).
It’s hard to tell because the overall American culture back in 1990, as far as I can tell (given the fact that I both had not been in the U.S. yet nor anywhere in the world), was a tad more openly tolerant of right-wing beliefs, even if many did not agree with them. The idea that people could suffer backlash for having a differing opinion was not yet present, as far as I know, since cancel culture was not really around back then, all that much.
Again, I could be wrong about that, but the point remains that I really don’t know if any results whatsoever, from just about any time period, could be considered trustworthy. Even if people were more open with their beliefs back then because they did not fear backlash, it could still be that polls were still systematically skewed by the pollsters through oversampling of Democrats or undersampling of Republicans (or both).
After all, it’s not like the politics of certain people in the media were hidden even decades ago. For crying out loud, they called Al Gore “President-elect” before the state of Florida had stopped counting, just because he was a Democrat!
So I begin to call into question whether or not any survey result from the last few decades is even close to accurate. I wouldn’t be surprised, in the least bit, if the number of people who support less strict gun control laws is considerably higher than even the number of people who support stricter gun control laws. Considering that this year has seen some of the highest gun purchase rates in a long time, I cannot be at all inclined to believe most people support stricter gun control laws than what currently are in the books.
I can buy that Gallup saw a dip in the numbers, but I suspect the dip is far bigger than what is advertised.
“For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.”
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