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Old December 30, 2010, 09:56 PM   #1
Kleinzeit
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Help, please: Gallup poll about gun attitudes?

Hey folks,

I'm about to go and speak to some people at a conference and the subject of guns is going to come up, and I could sure use some help tracking down some information.

I remember reading a Gallup poll a while back (pretty sure it was on the Gallup site) and it showed some stats that really impacted me.

It was talking about attitudes among people who identify themselves as "conservatives" versus people who identify themselves as "liberals." (At least, I think those were the categories.)

Anyway, what it seemed to say was that about 30% of conservatives think gun control shouldn't be any looser, and 30% of liberals think it shouldn't be any tighter.

I was really struck by this, because it goes against the grain of the usual "us versus them" mentality.

Anyway, I'm trying to find the thing again, and I can't. I've been looking through the Gallup website, and I'm finding loads of gun stuff, but not this particular poll. I figured I probably heard of it here on TFL, but I searched "Gallup" and I haven't been able to find it here, either.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Do you know where to find it? Sorry for being such a lame researcher. Your help would be really appreciated.
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Old December 30, 2010, 10:31 PM   #2
ClayInTx
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I have not trusted Gallup for many years. And the data you indicated seems to be backwards.

I just now googled “gun control” and found some interesting data at justfacts.com.

John Lott has some good data and is credible. Google him.

Unless there is a specific reason you want to use the Gallup data I suggest doing some web searches and using what you find there. But be careful of the credibility and some site wanting to grind their own axe—either pro or con. Either way is not good if biased.
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Old December 30, 2010, 10:52 PM   #3
Kleinzeit
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ClayInTx,

I couldn't agree more about biased information.

Problem is, a lot of people will decide that information is biased if it doesn't happen to support their version of the truth...

Thanks for the link to justfacts.com. I'm going to take them with a grain of salt, too; because frankly, I'm not so sure that there's any such thing as "just facts." Facts are always organized to someone's advantage. Usually, a claim that's something is "just facts" is a sign that one ought to be wary. Either they are naive about their point of view, or they are just trying to manipulate you.

John Lott has interesting things to say, but he also has a position. I know enough about research to know that positions tend to inform the outcomes, as much as the other way around.

Which is what you are saying, right?

Anyway, I'd really like to find these stats because, in this particular case, they would seriously help me to make a useful point.
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Old December 30, 2010, 11:05 PM   #4
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I think you have to be a little careful about using the generic classification of "liberal" and "conservative" to determine position on any specific issue, and especially so on those that tend to be emotionally charged, like gun control. And as I watch these polls and general political trends, it seems that on most issues something like 70 to 80% of the nation is somewhere near the middle ground while the remaining 20 to 30% create all the stir.

To say it another way, most of my liberal friends don't consider gun control, one way or another, as one of the key social issues needing more attention. And I don't buy most of the hype from conservative friends that we're on the verge of losing the 2nd amendment. For the vast majority of the 308 million Americans, gun control simply isn't an issue that they perceive to affect their daily life and therefore they tend to not have a well formed opinion on the mater. But if you ask them most will give you an opinion....but when not a considered one it also doesn't mean anything. The same applies to a long list of non mainstream issues and for these the polls, except the very few carefully conducted ones, tend to produce nonsensical results.

Then there are those like me who defy the standards. I'm a conservative, a life-long gun owner and shooter, and a Nevada resident in part because I like the "to each his own" attitude of The Silver State. I think what California has been doing is nuts in many ways and especially in terms of gun (and more recently, ammo) control. But I'm not opposed to the background checks on handgun sales and wouldn't be opposed to some form of training requirement akin to what's required for a hunting or CCW license. Now, before you get your pitchforks ready, I'm not advocating training as a legal requirement, I just see the value in it and have done it myself. And I wouldn't see a legal requirement as an affront to the 2nd Amendment. Remember the language we tend to avoid: "A well regulated militia..." In the 18th century "regulated" meant "trained".
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Old December 31, 2010, 04:50 AM   #5
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Let's try this in the Law & Civil Rights forum.

We need to give discussions of the Second Amendment an opportunity to proceed.

Just a word of advice, though. One tirade about the general topic of conservatives vs. liberals and this particular topic will be closed.

Self restraint and focus will keep it open.

As a contribution to the topic, it doesn't shock me at all to hear an assertion that supporters of the Second do not fit otherwise ideological groupings with the associated expectations.

Clear thinking is not the preserve of one side, nor is parochial lock-step thinking the sole preserve of the other. 1) Once given exposure to orderly formed opinions, pro and con, on the idea behind the Second Amendment in modern times and 2) given the history of disarmament of the common folk as government and industry became major influences in the construct of societies around Europe, Asia and the West, one realizes that the Second Amendment is not an idea or a right of Americans only.

It is universal geographically and throughout history. This is not a battle between liberals and conservatives unless you limit the discussion to American politics. We think of ourselves as the last line of defense against the encroachment of these things we see as basic human rights, but I don't think so. We simply are fortunate enough that our forefathers saw the need to make some sort of statement that was intended to protect that right in one of the early amendments to our Constitution.

In political divisions around the world, the general population is in idea-conflict with their government's restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. As dead as it may seem in places like Europe and Asia, it is not. It merely sleeps. It is as natural as breathing.

There are places in this hemishere where going overtly armed of necessity is as natural as shopping for a loaf of bread. That said, we are extremely fortunate that the Founding Fathers were the kind of rebels they were and took the time to set the preservation of this fundamental right down in writing.

Finally, we can not have a discussion of principles, if we stand across a line from each other and sling anecdotes back and forth. We can not have a principled discussion on the Second if we devolve to other topics that are meant to characterize the other side as unprincipled.

Stay on topic.

Think twice, post once.
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Old December 31, 2010, 01:14 PM   #6
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Great post, Bud.
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Old December 31, 2010, 03:48 PM   #7
Glenn E. Meyer
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Kleck - but a little old

http://abs.sagepub.com/content/39/4/387.abstract

I don't know how much time you have but you can go to Google scholar and search on guns, attitudes, etc. You can see some abstracts.

If you see something interesting, you might be able to find the author's web page and see if they have a pdf posted.

Individualism and collectivism in America: The case of gun ownership and attitudes toward gun control.Detail Only Available Celinska, Katarzyna; Sociological Perspectives, Vol 50(2), Sum, 2007. pp. 229-247. [Journal Article]

Media influence on attitudes toward guns and gun control.Detail Only Available Dowler, Kenneth; American Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol 26(2), Spr, 2002. pp. 235-247. [Journal Article]
Subjects: Adult Attitudes; Gun Control Laws; News Media; Television Viewing; Weapons; Adulthood (18 yrs & older); Male; Female


There's more - note that many popular surveys have loaded questions that channel an answer.

My read of the literature is that:

1. Most people favor some form of gun control - which means to them that crooks and nuts shouldn't have access to firearms. Laws which do that are good.

2. Most people support the right of the law abiding to own guns. They don't see measures such as NICS as troublesome. They might be ok with waiting periods, MG bans, etc. But ownership of most typical guns is OK.

Complicated issue - bottom line, most folks would be OK with normal folks having standard handguns and long arms. They are OK with laws that register and prevent nuts and crooks from getting them.

Of course, the devil is in the details of such. That's another story.

An example, they approve of CCW but not OC. Get the drift?
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Old December 31, 2010, 04:18 PM   #8
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The poll I remember stated that the majority of Americans are satisfied with current gun laws. I don't remember it being broken down by political preference. That would be a standard part of such a poll though.

Personally I think any specific issue loses steam once it becomes identified with a political party or philosophy.
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Old December 31, 2010, 04:54 PM   #9
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I suggest you contact the NRA or go online and do a little research. You need information to refute the felonious research done by anti firearms groups and you can find that on the NRA site.

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Old December 31, 2010, 06:03 PM   #10
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The trouble with a lot of polls is how you ask the question. You end up with misleading data.
Example:
Do you think it's OK for collage kids to carry guns?
OR
Do you thinks it's OK for ROTC students to carry guns?
Your talking about the same demographic group but will get wildly different data.
To use any polling data; you need to know the questions asked.
Don't expect honest data from the NRA. They load the questions too.
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Old December 31, 2010, 06:27 PM   #11
tet4
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Quote:
John Lott has interesting things to say, but he also has a position. I know enough about research to know that positions tend to inform the outcomes, as much as the other way around.
BTW, Lott arrived at his position only after his initial research. The only reason he started on gun control is because a few students asked in class so he looked at the current research at the time and actually read it, and found out that it was so poorly done as to not even be credible. So, he did his own and the rest is history. In fact, most of his carreer research has nothing to do with gun control and he is academically known for much more than that. Additionally, he works at the U of Chicago - about the most anti-gun environment you can imagine. To have published what he did means that he has an amazing intellectual spine. When people bring up attacks on his research, do some research of your own because they are pretty much all refutable.
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Old December 31, 2010, 06:38 PM   #12
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Lott also created a fake persona ("Mary Rosh") so that he could pretend to be one of his own former students; he used this persona to praise his own work in Amazon book reviews, in which he called himself "the best professor I ever had."
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Old December 31, 2010, 09:54 PM   #13
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Lott faked research. If he weren't politically connected, he'd be an answer to a trivia question.
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Old January 1, 2011, 12:13 PM   #14
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Let's let Lott lie.

Let's aid the OP. BTW, there are legit pro-gun folks who doubt some of Lott's or Kleck's work on scientific reasons. As I stated before there is a professional level debate of the work which should be referenced if you in a real deal debate.
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Old January 1, 2011, 12:40 PM   #15
Kleinzeit
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Thanks for all the input, everyone.

I found the Gallup poll I was looking for:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/123596/In...-Gun-Laws.aspx

Turns out the categories they used are "Democrat" and "Republican," not 'liberal" and "conservative." Anyway, the results demonstrate that attitudes about making gun laws more strict, or less strict, do not divide neatly along the lines of political affiliation.

Comments on the results are welcome, so long as they aren't political advocacy. You know what happens then.
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Old January 1, 2011, 01:24 PM   #16
Kleinzeit
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Correction: It uses "Republican/Democrat" as well as "Conservative/Liberal."

(The numbers come out pretty much the same, however you slice it.)
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Old January 1, 2011, 01:42 PM   #17
Kleinzeit
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A 2010 update:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/144887/Co...n-Control.aspx
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