Manipulated Public Opinion Polling
Should Not Drive Public Policy on Guns

By NRA-ILA. Oct 3, 2022

A recent study by the Crime Prevention Research Center underscored how easily public opinion polling can be used to distort, rather than illuminate, peoples’ true feelings on 'gun control'. Policy-makers should take note.

Sound policy requires a thoughtful and sophisticated understanding of facts and evidence, not just the shifting whims of public perception. Emotionalism, on the other hand, is the way anti-gun extremists would like to run our government. Gun ban advocates constantly point to survey results they help manufacture – usually in the wake of some highly-charged incident, before all the facts are known – as justification for imposing draconian restrictions on our Second Amendment rights.

There are numerous reasons why over-reliance on opinion polling is a deeply flawed approach to good governance.

First, and foremost, the United States was not founded as a direct democracy, where the electorate votes on virtually every public policy issue. We are, thankfully, a Constitutional Republic. At the federal level, we elect people to represent us, and they deliberate policy issues and vote to implement them or reject them. Should they consider public opinion polls when determining how they vote? Of course they should consider them; but that should never be the beginning and the end of the analysis.

The problem with relying on public opinion polls is that, with complex or controversial issues, how the poll is conducted has a tremendous bearing on both how accurate it is in determining how people feel, and what the results of the poll actually mean. .....


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