Bloomberg Researchers: Americans Support Gun Control if You Reword Poll Questions

AP Photo/Seth Perlman
AP/Seth Perlman

Researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say polls making it look like Americans have abandoned gun control are the result of poorly worded questions. If the questions were worded differently, those polls would show that Americans actually want more gun control laws passed.

The Bloomberg researchers focused specifically on a December PEW Poll, which showed that 56 percent of Americans want gun rights, while only 46 percent are focused on gun control. And Breitbart News reported that the this shift represents the first time in more than 20 years that a majority of Americans have moved into the gun rights column.

Yet according to The Washington Post, Bloomberg researchers question the poll’s findings.

The researchers say that because a majority of Americans supported gun control in the immediate aftermath of the heinous attack on Sandy Hook Elementary, then a majority must still support it. They believe better, i.e. reworded, poll questions would reveal this.

They suggest the PEW poll question was flawed for “[pitting] gun rights vs. gun control, asking respondents which one they thought was more important.” They said that the question—an either/or choice on generalities—did not present the full spectrum of choices. They claim more specific questions—worded properly, of course—could illicit support for gun control again.

Ironically, the Bloomberg researchers did not mention that the same PEW question has, without criticism, found support for gun control over gun rights for two decades. But now that the results are different, we are suddenly to believe the polling question is flawed.

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