Quote of the day—NRA-ILA

Pew’s recent survey on firearm-related attitudes and experiences of U.S. adults found – based on the percentage saying “yes” to the question about whether they are NRA members – that more than 14 million Americans consider themselves NRA members.  The real NRA membership of about 5 million falls well short of this measure, even accounting for any statistical error the survey produced.

What this means in terms of polling, and one thing that Pew and others simply do not make clear to the public when reporting on the survey results, is that Pew did not actually survey NRA members.  Any views, beliefs, or opinions they ascribe to “NRA members” is a simple guess on their part.  Pew does not know what percentage of NRA members support one law or another, how many guns they own, or anything else for that matter.  At best, they can claim to have the responses of Americans who SAY they are NRA members, but they certainly cannot say much beyond that.

Unfortunately, this simple truth hasn’t stopped Pew from attempting to present to the public, along with an eager media, multiple claims or measures about our members’ opinions. Nor has it stopped the similar and blatant attempts by ideologically-driven gun control advocates to claim they know, from polling data alone, how NRA members view particular topics.

July 7, 2017
Remarkable Finding from Pew Survey
[In addition to he conclusion outlined above this has rather far reaching implications and one or more of the following:

  1. Many people are lying about belonging to the NRA and want to skew the poll results
  2. Many people align themselves with the NRA but haven’t maintained their membership
  3. Pew sampling is faulty
  4. Pew is lying
  5. NRA is lying about their numbers by understating them by a factor of 2.8

It’s difficult to see how it would be to the NRA’s net advantage to lie in this manner so I am mostly discounting this option. It also seems unlikely that Pew would lie in this manner. Could Pew sampling be this far off? I suppose it’s possible but I doubt it.

That leaves options 1 and 2 as the most likely resolution to the discrepancy. I can only come up with weak cases for either option and end up being dissatisfied with the result. What am I missing?—Joe]


23 thoughts on “Quote of the day—NRA-ILA

  1. I never felt obligated to tell the truth to a pollster who calls our phone at dinner time.

  2. I never bother to talk to pollsters……… dinner time or any other time.

    I consider them to be like the lying media.

  3. I also assume that blatant lying is not the cause (too easy to be “outed”). I haven’t actually looked at the details of the poll and it’s methodology, but my opinion at first glance would be either faulty sampling (accidental or otherwise), or the way in which the questions were asked.

  4. I looked quickly at the Pew summary cited in the NRA-ILA article. I don’t see anything there that implies the absolute number of NRA members. They purportedly surveyed gun owners, and of those responding, asked which ones belonged to the NRA. I am having difficulty in figuring out how NRA somehow concluded that “…more than 14 million Americans consider themselves NRA members…..”. If anyone needs to explain something, it would be NRA-ILA.

  5. Don’t underestimate Pew’s willingness to tell you big, bold lies.

  6. Dogboy49

    First line from the Pew article,

    “Three-in-ten U.S. adults say they currently own a gun, and of that group, 19% say they belong to the National Rifle Association. ”

    Current over 18 pop of the US is in excess of 250 million.
    30% of 250 million is 75 million
    19% of 75 million is approx 14.25 million.

  7. Personally, I don’t believe I would use such tenuous calculations to reach any conclusion.

    This is not to say that Pew has not misrepresented their info (intentionally or otherwise), only to say that such evidence seems a bit flimsy to me. Perhap NRA-ILA, who has asserted that there is a mismatch, should ask Pew for a clarification. In the meantime, I am forced to consider this “a nothingburger”, to use the currently popular phrase…..

    • “Tenuous calculation”? what’s tenuous about it? It’s math

      You asked where the 14 mill number came from. I showed you.

      • I personally would find the number concerning if Pew had actually stated the 14M figure. I haven’t yet seen any evidence that they have.

        Thanks for your clarification, though. I now know how YOU arrived at the figure.

        • But Pew DID state that figure. They stated it as an expression rather than a simple constant, but the two are equivalent.
          Now if you want to assume that Pew is lying (given their leftist biases, that’s a plausible assumption) it certainly would be logical for them to muddle the lie by not stating it as a simple number.

          • “But Pew DID state that figure. They stated it as an expression rather than a simple constant, but the two are equivalent.”

            Thanks for your opinion. I now also know your feelings in this matter.

            Still “nothingburger”. Meh……

        • So you believe that the population of the U.S. is around 110 million?

          • “So you believe that the population of the U.S. is around 110 million?”

            ????? I don’t recall ever saying that.

            Here is my final statement of What I do believe though (concerning this thread):
            1. The only place I see the 14M figure in writing was in the NRA-ILA article, and in a couple of responses in this thread. Any factual discrepancies, if they are important, should be handled between NRA-ILA and Pew. I certainly don’t have time to do a peer review on Pew’s article, even if I were so inclined.
            2. In the giant scheme of things, this whole issue is pretty inconsequential (“a nothingburger”).
            3. Some of the respondents within this thread are somewhat excited about this issue.

            Time will tell if NRA-ILA decides this is important enough to bring to Pew’s attention. Have a nice day!

  8. I would not trust ANY survey on firearms ownership for the simple reason that it is a highly charged political issue with legal, private property, and personal/family safety concerns associated with it. To some stranger on the phone!!!

    The survey is less than a “nothing burger”…it is a sh!t sandwich you do not want to take a bite of ever.

    Would you answer truthfully, or even answer, unsolicited survey questions like:
    – In a muslim-dominated country, asked if you are a Jew or Christian?
    – How about a call to ask what time you leave for work in the morning and your annual income? (e.g. the American Community Survey – what a stinking survey)
    – Your sexual preferences, websites you visit, books you read, your political party, your prior POTUS voting, and organizations that receive your donations?

  9. Don’t forget that some (I don’t want to say “stupid” or “clueless”) people think that when they bought their gun they were automatically enrolled as a member of the NRA… I don’t know if the number that think that is sufficient to make up the difference.

    • Some of them were. Every so often a gun shop gives away a complimentary 1 year NRA membership with purchase of a firearm.

    • Many people who bought an annual membership don’t realize when it expires, or don’t think that they need to renew. When circulating a petition to nominate a board of directors member, we figure on losing 30 to 40% of the signatures gathered at a gunstore because the membership # is wrong or no longer active.

  10. Would this be one of the same polling companies that told us REPEATEDLY through most of 2016 that Killary Clinton was FIRMLY in the lead, was guaranteed to win the election and Trump has ZERO chance….? The ONLY
    thing that polling organizations do is create false results to sway stupid people.
    It is ALL agenda driven and virtually ALL of those agendas are in support of the communist/demonrat goal of destroying America.

  11. I have yet to read a poll that includes the simple data point of how many potential respondents hung up on the pollster. Why is that?

    • Because it looks bad when the results are 90+ % hang-up without talking to the pollster and an additional 5+% cursing out the pollster before hanging up

    • I think Gary Keck’s famous survey covered that question.

      An interesting issue with surveys is the “margin of error” number. It is a technical term from statistics; I think it means the standard deviation for an unbiased sample of the given size, taken from a random variable with some assumed distribution (Gaussian, perhaps). That can be calculated easily (if you know enough statistics; mine are very rusty at best). But the word suggests something very different, namely the margin of error of the answers reported by the survey. And that isn’t the case. For one thing, the statistical assumptions aren’t applicable. For another, it’s obvious by inspection that we’re not dealing with margin of error in the plain English sense. You can see that simply by looking at multiple surveys covering the same questions, which very often differ by far more than their claimed “margin of error”.
      In this particular case, we have an interesting data point. The survey claims 14 million NRA members; the actual number is just over one-third of that. So the real margin of error, in the plain English sense of “how far off are the answers” is around 65 percent.

      • I would go with a HUGE (or YUGE) sampling bias as above that makes any generalizations from it meaningless.

  12. There have been other surveys which I can no longer cite that suggest that #2 is the right answer. Fellow travelers, essentially.

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