News & Politics

Gun-Control Poll? We’re Divided. But a Note to Liberals: Run for Your Lives!



This graphic shows the overall even split in opinion from the Pew Research Center poll about gun control. It’s about 50-50. But read on for the detailed breakdown, touted today by the pretty rigorously nonpartisan and pro outfit. Just be warned: The poll, taken before assassin Jared Loughner struck, indicates that 78 percent of people identified as belonging to the “Tea Party Movement,” whatever the hell that really is, agree with the idea of protecting the right to own guns and only 18 percent agree with the idea of controlling gun ownership. That’s a more radical stance than for any of the numerous categories in the poll–which include race, ideology, income, gender, education, geography, party, region, and religion. Not surprising, but enough to perhaps make some wussy liberals flee to the hills. Many New Yorkers are fleeing to gun shops.

Since 2008, the Pew Research Center reported in March, Americans have increasingly supported gun rights.

The percentage supporting control used to hover in the high 50s and low 60s, with spikes in favor of gun control following such massacres as Columbine in 1999.

Now it’s about 50-50, according to Pew’s latest massive and detailed poll, conducted in late August and early September.

Also check out Mark Blumenthal’s riff on Gallup results in his January 10 HuffPost piece, “Americans Favor Semi-Automatic Weapons Ban, Wary Of ‘Gun Control.’ “

So that poll says. But there will be no ban on semi-automatic weapons. You can take that to the bank. The weapon, that is. At least in Arizona.

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Polls “indicate,” incidentally. They don’t show or tell. They’re sometimes faulty because of sampling size, skewed samples, and/or poorly worded questions. Reporters, however, are mostly to blame by ignoring margins of error, as USA Today recently did. (See my “Palin/Loughner Poll Nonsense: USA Today Blows Its Own Story.”)

But as indicators of trends–when pollsters are careful to ask identical questions over time–polls can be very useful.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 13, 2011

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