iMediaEthics Gun Control Poll: Post Sandy Hook: Methodology and Topline Sta

iMediaEthics publishes international media ethics news stories and investigations into journalism ethics lapses.


Home » Media Polls»

(Credit: SurveyUSA, screenshot)


This poll is part of a series of PollCheck surveys, designed by iMediaEthics and conducted by SurveyUSA, to “fact check” the results of other polls. Other PollCheck surveys can be found here. They include a previous poll on gun control (August/September 2012), same-sex marriage (June 2012), bailout of the auto industry (March/April 2012), and expansion of bike lanes in New York City (August 2011).

See the full report on this poll’s finding.

For the current poll, the second on gun control, 859 adults nationwide were interviewed by SurveyUSA Monday 01/07/13 through Wednesday 01/10/13. Research, conceptualized and commissioned by, was conducted 100% by telephone, as follows: Adults reachable on a home telephone (67% of respondents) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. The youngest-male method of respondent selection was used on these landline calls. Respondents unreachable on a home telephone (aka: “cell phone respondents”) (33% of respondents), were contacted on their cell phone by live operators, who hand-dialed the telephone, remained on the line throughout the duration of the call, read the questions to respondents, and recorded the answers. Blended sample for both landlines and cellphones were provided by SSI of Fairfield CT. Responses were minimally weighted to U.S. Census targets for gender, age, race and region. Each respondent was randomly assigned at the time of the interview to one of two different paths through the survey; depending on the path, respondents heard slightly different question wording. Where further necessary, questions and answer choices were rotated to prevent order bias, recency and primacy effects. SurveyUSA assigns to each question within the instrument a theoretical margin of sampling error, but such error is useful only in theory, and though commonly cited in the presentation of research results, sampling error is only one of many types of error that may influence the outcome of an opinion research study. More practical concerns include the inability to contact some, the refusal of others to be interviewed and the inability of still others to speak the language. It is difficult to quantify non-sampling errors.




Q1A. In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?

January 2013
50%  More Strict
9%    Less Strict
36%  Kept As They Are
4%    No Opinion

August 2012
44%  More Strict
13%  Less Strict
39%  Kept As They Are
3%    No Opinion

Q2A. [If more strict][N=210]: How upset are you that the laws are NOT more strict right now?

January 2013
58%  Very Upset
28%  Somewhat Upset
12%  Not Too Upset
2%    Not Upset At All
0%    No Opinion

August 2012
53%  Very Upset
32%  Somewhat Upset
10%  Not Too Upset
4%    Not Upset At All
0%    No Opinion

Q3A. [If less strict][N=38]:
How upset are you that the laws are NOT less strict right now:

January 2013
27%   Very Upset
22%   Somewhat Upset
29%   Not Too Upset
20%   Not Upset At All
2%     No Opinion

August 2012
24%   Very Upset
40%   Somewhat Upset
22%   Not Too Upset
14%   Not Upset At All
0%     No Opinion


Q1B. In general, do you feel that more laws are needed to deal with the sale of firearms, fewer laws are needed, or is there the right number of laws now – or don’t you have an opinion one way or the other?

January 2013
46%   More Laws Are Needed
17%   Fewer Laws Are Needed
28%   Right Number Of Laws
10%   No Opinion

August 2012
42%   More Laws Are Needed
14%   Fewer Laws Are Needed
29%   Right Number Of Laws
15%   No Opinion

Q1B1. [If no opinion][N=43]
Just your best guess – do you think more laws are needed, fewer laws, or is the there right number of laws now?

January 2013
29%   More Laws Are Needed
1%     Fewer Laws Are Needed
37%   Right Number Of Laws
33%   No Opinion

August 2012
33%   More Laws Are Needed
8%     Fewer Laws Are Needed
39%   Right Number Of Laws
20%   No Opinion

Q2B. [If more laws are needed][N=203]:
How upset are you that there are NOT more laws to deal with the sale of firearms:

January 2013
58%   Very Upset
31%   Somewhat Upset
8%     Not Too Upset
2%     Not Upset At All
0%     No Opinion

August 2012
53%   Very Upset
25%   Somewhat Upset
14%   Not Too Upset
4%     Not Upset At All
5%     No Opinion

Q3B. [If fewer laws are needed][N=74]:
How upset are you that there are NOT fewer laws to deal with the sale of firearms:

January 2013
10%    Very Upset
28%    Somewhat Upset
33%    Not Too Upset
29%    Not Upset At All
0%      No Opinion

August 2012
15%    Very Upset
26%    Somewhat Upset
26%    Not Too Upset
33%    Not Upset At All
0%      No Opinion


Now we’d like to ask you your opinion of five measures that have been proposed to cover the sale of firearms. For each one, please tell me if you support it strongly, you support it but not strongly, you don’t have an opinion either way, you oppose it but not strongly, or you oppose it strongly.

[Only 4 measures were included in the August 2012 survey. Banning the sale of high capacity ammunition clips was added for the January 2013 survey.]




In the house where you live, are there: No guns, One gun, Or more than one gun?

January 2013
51%    No Guns
19%    One Gun
30%    More Than 1 Gun

August 2012
50%    No Guns
21%    One Gun
28%    More Than 1 Gun

How closely have you followed news about the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut? Very closely? Somewhat closely? Not too closely? Not closely at all? Or haven’t you heard about that shooting until now?

January 2013
53%    Very
33%    Somewhat
9%      Not Too
4%      Not Closely At All
1%      Have Not Heard
0%      Not Sure

For complete crosstabs, click here.


See David Moore’s report on this poll’s finding.


Submit a tip / Report a problem

iMediaEthics Gun Control Poll, Post Sandy Hook: Methodology and Topline Statement

Share this article:

Comments Terms and Conditions

  • We reserve the right to edit/delete comments which harass, libel, use coarse language and profanity.
  • We moderate comments especially when there is conflict or negativity among commenters.
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *