Thursday, April 18, 2013


Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: Part CVXXXI

Before and after the gun control vote yesterday, ant-gun fanatics freely tossed around the 90% of Americans support increased background checks for gun purchases. While the 90% figure may be true for responses to a directly asked question, such as "Should all beef sold in grocery stores be inspected for safety of human consumption?" It doesn't mean that people necessarily care all that much.

When Gallup asked people the open ended question: “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?”, only 4% mentioned gun control. Economy in general Unemployment/Jobs, Dissatisfaction with Government, Federal budget deficit/Federal debt, Healthcare, Ethical/Moral/Family decline all ranked higher.

The question about background checks demonstrates a forced answer question, yes or no (maybe a "Don't Know - I couldn't find the actual survey.) In marketing research, which is all these polls are, these are the most commonly used type of question. But, we usually include the open ends to gather "unaided awareness," i.e. what does the respondent say/know/feel without prompting from us. We'll ask "What brands of potato chips are you aware of?" Then we'll follow-up with "Please tell me if you have ever heard of these brands of potato chips." and then read a list of brands of potato chips.

We also commonly use an importance rating scale. For instance, we'll ask respondents how much they agree a company does a good job on a variety of attributes or services. Then we'll ask them how important each of those attributes or services are. If an attribute/service isn't considered very important, it makes no sense to worry much about how well a company performs in that area.

Obama, Reid, and the anti-gun fanatics decided to make a big fuss about something few people care about very much. Its as if the opinions on background checks "no more importance than if the [they] had said they liked the taste of strawberries." It doesn't matter that much to them. But, Obama, Reid and the anti-gun fanatics chose to distort the meaning of the statistics to rob us of our civil rights. I doubt their motives for robbing us of our rights are honorable. They simply want to make us easier to rule and keep under their thumbs.

I'll also add that Obama's statement ""If our democracy's working the way it's supposed to, and 90% agree on something, in the wake of a tragedy, you would think this would not be a heavy lift,..." not only ignores the statistical truth of the 90% number, it also ignores that we are not a democracy and ignores the principle of majority rule and minority rights.

Of course, Obama thinks he should be a dictator, king, emperor or something and just rule by fiat. He's reportedly now preparing executive orders to undermine the republic and further the tyrannical actions Harry Reid says we don't have to worry about.

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