The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage

That was the subtitle of Brian Anse Patrick’s book The National Rifle Association and the Media.  It’s still paying off.

Gallup’s most recent poll on gun control informs us that “Americans’ Dissatisfaction With Gun Laws Highest Since 2001”. I’m sure that’ll be the Media Narrative™ in all of the subsequent news reports – if any. But here’s the kicker:

Americans may be dissatisfied with gun laws because they believe they should be stricter, or because they believe the laws are too strict as they are. Therefore, Gallup asks those who are dissatisfied with gun laws to choose among explanations for their dissatisfaction. Those who are dissatisfied have historically leaned heavily in the direction of wanting stricter rather than less strict laws.

But this year, the gap between those wanting stricter gun laws and those wanting less strict laws narrowed as a result of a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who want less strict laws, now at 16% up from 5% a year ago. Support for making gun laws stricter fell to 31% from 38% last January. The January 2013 poll was conducted shortly after the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy, which sparked some state governments to consider new gun laws and a robust national discussion about the issue.

In addition to overall dissatisfaction with gun laws rising, more Americans this year are “very dissatisfied” (35%) versus “somewhat dissatisfied” (20%).

(Bold emphasis mine.) Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to make it into The Narrative™ without enough spin to put a tornado to shame.

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