Polling Fail

03.10.13

Is Gallup Wrong on Guns?

Is Gallup wrong again? Gallup joined other pollsters in reporting a long decline in gun ownership, from 50% of households in the 1960s to about one-third in 2008. Since 2009, however, Gallup has found a spike in gun ownership. 

Today the New York Times reports that the firm that mis-called the 2012 election may also be misreporting gun ownership, at least according to the more authoritative General Social Survey. The GSS is conducted every two years, and its newest release finds:

The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 49 percent in the 1980s, 43 percent in the 1990s and 35 percent in the 2000s, according to the survey data, analyzed by The New York Times.

In 2012, the share of American households with guns was 34 percent, according to survey results released on Thursday. Researchers said the difference compared with 2010, when the rate was 32 percent, was not statistically significant.