Did you ever wonder how pollsters can keep coming up with claims that 90+% of Americans want universal background checks preemptively-prove-your-innocence prior restraint on rights when every time it goes to the voters actual results never come within 30 points of the claim?
Poll: Vermonters strongly support new gun-control measures
More than two of every three Vermonters say they support the new gun-control measures signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott this year, according to the results of a poll conducted by Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS.
Vermont is pretty liberal, so maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. But it’s a bit of a strange state when it comes to RKBA. When I lived in New England, I often heard how much Vermonters like their guns; libertarian types would note it with approval, liberals with befuddlement, and conservatives made jokes about “heavily armed hippies.” But everyone knew it.
So how did VPR/VPBS come up with results indicating such heavy approval of gun control? The secret is in the polling methodology, something I like to look at nearly as much as alleged results. In this case, the clue is:
“For the landline sample, interviewers requested to speak with the youngest male member of the household who is at least 18 years of age; if there was no male in the household, interviewers requested the youngest female.”
They actively screened for the youngest voting-eligible demographic. The group which most strongly leans liberal, statistically speaking. That accounts for the liberal skew in the results.
I mentioned this to someone, as an example of the worst built-in survey bias methodology I’d ever seen. And that person told me something of which I was unaware: that most phone poll calls she’s gotten do the same thing. It’s been years since I participated in a phone poll,* so I hadn’t realized this. It’s the first time I spotted that selection criteria in methodology notes (usually I see a pro-urban selection bias, and over-representation of Democrats compared to the general population).
That age selection game is particularly problematic for Vermont.
“Vermont faces a demographic challenge. Our population is stagnant and getting older. We have fewer school-age kids, which drives up the per-pupil cost. We have fewer young adults to invigorate the workforce and pay forward the costs of retirement and health care for older Vermonters.”
— The Mass Exodux Myth
But VPR and VPBS think that comparatively tiny group speaks for the older folks — gun-toting hippies — who greatly outnumber them.
So when you hear that “95% of Americans want to a$$-rape the Constitution,” remember that it really means “95% of millenials who probably aren’t going to vote, and think the Army carries semi-auto AR-15s, believe bump-fire stocks are machineguns, and expect blackmarket arms dealers to conduct universal background checks, want to bend you over the table and have their way with you. Without vaseline.”
* That’s because I don’t answer calls with blocked caller ID, or unrecognized numbers. If Pew, Gallup, or whoever wants to poll me, their caller ID should say Pew, Gallup, or whoever. And the last few poll calls I did take (years ago) turned out to be push polls, and I hung up on them.