Gun Rights vs Gun Control: The Unspoken Public Opinion

Gun Rights vs Gun Control: The Unspoken Public Opinion

     There are few subjects that generate more fervent debate than gun control and gun rights. In the United States, mass shootings are all too common. From the Santa Fe High School tragedy to Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, these horrific tragedies plague our news. The trouble is it’s not possible to accurately determine what people think about guns in the US from questionnaires, surveys, and interviews. Sampling bias is huge, and the more controversial the subject, the pollsters skew toward the loud minority, rather than the vocal majority. You can read the findings of surveys over and over again, but often, it’s the unspoken opinions that count. So, how do you find out what’s really going on in people’s minds and determine the difference between public opinion and private reflection? Clickagy’s substantial tracking of internet behaviors is a unique solution to paint an unbiased and pure picture of consumer opinions. Instead of relying on hand-raisers to declare their controversial opinions publicly, Clickagy can observe the content they are actually reading online and actively researching. Clickagy is then able to measure this deterministic data across over 91% of the Internet-connected devices in the US, eliminating inaccuracies from extrapolation. Clickagy taps into the unspoken voices of America, providing an unprecedented clarity to public opinion.

What the Polls Say and the Clickagy Difference

     Information obtained from surveys suggest is that the majority of people who participate in polls hold certain beliefs, but there’s always a risk that public opinion is actually different to private opinion. What one says may actually be completely different to what he or she thinks, and ultimately, what one does. If you’re trying to navigate your way around gray areas, evaluating concrete data is likely to get you further than reading responses to loaded questions. Clickagy tracks devices, including phones and tablets, showing the level of interest in subjects like gun control and gun rights among audiences that are engaged in this issue. There’s no room for subjective interpretation or poetic license with numbers and the Clickagy strategy points to the fact that there isn’t always a correlation between thoughts and actions. Collected in real time, this data shows just how many people are visiting pages related to gun control and gun rights. Polls may suggest that there has been a jump in support for tighter gun controls, but it’s also useful to analyze data related to gun rights. The differences in numbers collected by Clickagy provide an insight into what people think that may not be reflected in poll findings or watered down results quoted in news bulletins or press articles. Tracking data obtained directly by Clickagy demonstrates around 30.4% more people observed researching gun control and gun rights. This represents a 23.1% jump in consumers who care about restricting the rights of gun owners than last year, likely due to recent school shootings. Advocates for gun rights and freedoms are down by 12.7%, of which, in the previous three month period an incredible 5.6% have shifted positions from historically advocating for gun rights into actively researching some form of gun control. America was founded on the right to bear arms, however, recent trends in the popular opinion clearly show an increasing number of citizens opting to restrict that freedom, even to a small degree.

     The behavioral tracking techniques used by Clickagy show what specific audiences are interested in and what content they’re consuming online; primarily used for programmatic advertising, analytics, and attribution. However, the scale and purity of data also make it ideal for measuring unspoken public opinion. At the time of writing, within the past 30 days, more than 3.75 million devices (including mobile phones, tablets, and computers) have been observed researching issues related to gun control. That’s almost 1.5 devices per second! The numbers are much lower for those researching gun rights (only 2.9 million in the past 30 days). These devices belong to people who have a genuine interest in how the government is going to adapt or modify gun control, specifically siding with protecting the rights of gun owners. These users may have a connection to activist groups or associations like the NRA or Everytown for Gun Safety. Those researching gun rights are likely to have an interest in public safety, self-defense, and the Second Amendment.

     After every mass shooting in the US, you can be sure that there will be a raft of polls published in the mainstream media. The latest school shooting in Santa Fe seems to have hit people particularly hard, and there has been an outpouring of public support for tougher gun controls. In the aftermath of the Texas shooting, the Quinnipiac University National Poll revealed that 66% of people supported more stringent, rigorous laws. This represents the highest figure on record and a major leap from 47% in 2015. Sixty-seven percent of people agreed that it is too easy to buy a gun in America, but only 40% suggested that stricter gun control measures would be the most effective means of reducing the risk of mass shootings in the future. Of those who oppose tougher measures, the majority believe that more robust controls would impinge on their basic right to own a gun.

Why Clickagy Data Offers Improved Insights Over Public Polls

     If you read the results of public surveys published in newspapers and other outlets, you are only seeing part of the picture, however, until recently that was the best option for reporting on public opinion. When you’re filling in a survey, you have a choice about which answer you give or box you tick. You can be completely honest, or you can go with the option that you think you should select. This pressure was the root problem of the wildly inaccurate polls before the Trump presidential election. Often there’s a difference between the opinions and ideas that hand-raisers share in a public arena, or even when surrounded by a group of friends or family and the thoughts that are going through your mind behind closed doors. For one reason or another, this disconnect can force you not to disclose the whole truth when you’re ticking those boxes. Clickagy analysis focuses on unfiltered data points which offer an empirical insight into actual behavior, rather than predicted trends or actions. As well as there being a risk of misrepresenting public opinion by using polls, there’s also a chance that the findings of surveys can be presented in a way that increases the risks of inaccuracies or contributes to bias. Clickagy tracking data provides an insight into trends that aren’t always presented in the media, for example, the shifting tide between the number of raw devices observed researching gun control vs gun rights.

Uncovering Unspoken Opinions

     As we’ve already deduced, public opinion polls can provide an insight, but they are dependent on honesty, and they represent a small segment of society. A more effective means of gathering and analyzing data may lie in using Clickagy to track data related to raw browsing patterns. Analyzing raw browsing patterns offers an insight into what people are actually looking at and the subject areas that genuinely matter to them. The figures may support the fact that there has been an increase in interest in the use of guns and gun ownership in the US, but it could also challenge the findings of public opinion polls. Take the election as an example. Very few pollsters had Donald Trump down to be the victor. The TV personality turned politician may not have been the popular option on paper, but if you tracked browsing and took actual behaviors into account, you might have been surprised to see how voraciously many people were researching the guy who was previously most famous for saying ‘you’re fired’ on a reality show.

     Gun control and gun rights will continue to dominate media discussions until there’s a dramatic shift in policy or an end to mass shootings. What is up for debate is how people actually feel versus how they say they feel. For this reason, the behavioral analysis provided by Clickagy provides a refreshingly pure and accurate insight into the difference between public opinion and unspoken personal stance.

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