USA Today Polls Readers, Probably Unhappy With Results

AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File

Last week, USA Today‘s editorial board voiced its support for gun control. It cited the horrific events in New Zealand as evidence enough that something has to be done.

The editorial board argued:

“The reality is,” said New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peter, a staunch opponent of gun control, “after 1 p.m. on the 15th of March (when the mosque shootings occurred), our world changed forever, and so will some of our laws.”

That display of leadership in the face of tragedy reflects another reality: Without easy access to high-powered weapons and high-capacity magazines, people like the Christchurch gunman are far more likely to remain racist losers, rather than become mass murderers.

Then it finished it up with a poll.

Now, online polls aren’t particularly scientific, but they’re still kind of telling. For example, they may well tell us a lot about not just what people think, but which side of a discussion is more passionate about the topic. After all, who else is likely to share the poll with like-minded people?

Well, here’s a screenshot of USA Today‘s poll as of 8:00 Eastern this morning.


Talk about backfiring.

Out of more than 13,000 votes, over 12,500 disagreed or strongly disagreed with USA Today‘s position. Less than 1,100 agree or strongly agree.

That’s what we down in the South call a butt-whoopin’.

Again, these aren’t scientific. They don’t try to get a cross-section of the American population. Instead, it’s thrown up to wait to see what happens.

Well, what happened is that pro-gun people probably saw it and shared it with their pro-gun friends. Meanwhile, anti-gunners voted and just moved along.

That’s important.

You see, pro-gun people are passionate about the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, anti-gunners are often anti-gun, but it’s not a big priority for them. As a result, they’re unlikely to choose a politician based on their anti-gun views. Many are fairly moderate politically and don’t want to see the extreme left win out, so they vote for moderate candidates with moderate views on guns.

With the pro-gun crowd, it’s different. Even non-gun owners on the right tend to use the Second Amendment as a litmus test for right-leaning candidates. Without the pro-gun views, you’re unlikely to find yourself elected on the right. We’re passionate about gun rights, and we’ll do anything we can to show that we’re passionate.

The result? Polls like this tend to skew heavily pro-gun.

I’m sure anti-gunners will shrug this off as not mattering, but it does. It matters because this is often far more representative of the political discourse than anti-gunners would like to think — passion matters. Passionate people are the ones who send emails and make phone calls to lawmakers. They’re the ones who show up to rallies and lobby their legislators. They’re the ones who have yard signs, donate money, and volunteer on campaigns.

In short, they’re the ones who are far more likely to affect policy in this country.

Right now, anti-gunners are riding as high as they ever have. They have the House, they have the media, and think they have the American people.

Meanwhile, we can see where the real motivation is, and that tells us where most of that other stuff will be heading in 2020.