What’s Wrong with the Fox News Poll on Gun Control: Trying to position cable news for life after 2024 with smoke and mirrors

You can clearly see the influence of Suzanne Scott, the new CEO of Fox News regarding their recent poll on gun control released recently in the wake of two mass shootings that occurred within 24 hours of each other. Fox News has moved noticeably in a more liberal direction under her leadership as opposed to Roger Ailes. Knowing that liberal gun banners have sought to push an assault weapons agenda while the NRA is on its heels in internal struggles at the top of the organization to redirect their losses in the Russian hoax story and pull Trump toward gun control to split his base and weaken his power going into the 2020 election. Fox News was happy to play along being a New York based media company in the heart of progressive society, they have moved radically to the left and their poll on guns reflects this trend.

Their headline was that most of the people they polled back gun restrictions after the most recent shootings. They also aimed to show a slipping support for Trump and the NRA. Obviously Suzanne Scott’s staff in the boardroom of Fox News is looking beyond Trump’s presidency if not for 2020, because they will want the ratings bump they get from his campaign events, ultimately the cable news outlet need to figure out who they are after 2024 and they think the country is changing in a more liberal direction, that many of the heavily college debt driven young people will not care about guns, or even family, and will be more Bernie Sanders than Donald Trump in their economic and social thinking. Suzanne Scott is clearly not Roger Ailes, and it shows.

The big number in the Fox Poll is that they say two thirds of their contacts state that they would support an “assault weapons” ban which I think is highly unlikely. I would say that is something of a suppression poll similar to the type of polls that showed Hillary Clinton beating Trump in the general election or the ones that think Joe Biden will beat Trump head to head. The numbers may be accurate if you are taking your sampling at a local liberal college, but not if you were doing so in a steel factory or a competitive shooting event. Its not so much what the numbers say, it’s the kind of people that were polled. For instance, 100% of people polled in New York City would likely reflect the Fox News sample. They are already used to a non-gun culture and lots of progressive ideas. But in Eastern Ohio or Kentucky, the results would be much different.

The sampling itself was taken between August 11th through the 13th so the material broadcast by Fox and other networks was fresh on everyone’s mind and consisted of 1,013 registered voters, 222 by a land line and 791 by cell phones randomly selected for inclusion in the survey using a probability proportionate to the size method meaning the phone numbers for each state were proportional to the number of voters in each state. That means that by dividing the number of polled recipients by the number of states and not taking into account the nature of those states, the results would tend to lead toward a favorability of gun control anyway, which of course Fox News is pushing so that they can take credit for moving the needle on gun control during President Trump’s first term in office and changing the market demographic for that five year plan which takes place after 2024.

The big flaws are in conducting recipients who still have a land line, which is to say, most people these days have cut that cord a long time ago. Land line phone owners are not a good statistical sampling of the modern electorate. Its like saying to people who ride bicycles if they prefer that mode of transportation over a car. A land line owner is probably over 60 or they are very poor, and their opinions are radically shaped by current events, like within a week old. With all the news recently from traditional networks being all about gun control, it is not surprising that these types of people would be sympathetic to such an idea. Then of course there is the cell phone sampling, where only certain types of people answer their cell phone when a number they don’t recognize comes across their screen. Again, 791 people who answered their cell phone during an unusual call across 50 states is not a good sampling of gun control sentiment among real voters. The poll method is an old model that does not represent modern trends, and that is where the rubber hits the road in detecting the motive of this Fox News Poll.

Mostly, I would say that people who read here for instance are getting their news sourcing from Fox News over to Alex Jones, OAN or even Louder with Crowder on YouTube. There is a reason that many of these modern commentators who lean to the political right have been deplatformed from social media—it’s because that was never the plan from the left. They thought Facebook, Google and Twitter would push people to the left, instead it has given people on the right more of a voice and they are cutting their cords with Fox News and the cable companies that support them and turning to streaming online. The freedom of choice has gone in the wrong direction and this has particularly upset the Google radicals who thought they understood the game.

Fox News viewers really aren’t that impressive, and they dominate the other networks by having 2.3 million viewers between the hours of 8-11 PM each night. The YouTube channel of Steven Crowder is on par with those numbers and that is just one lone personality. Given the impact of talk radio, blog sites like this one, and alternative media such as Alex Jones on his own website that is still pulling in impressive numbers despite all the effort there has been to stop him. There isn’t any real polling coming out of those audiences and it is there that the real sentiment on gun control rests. Fox News tried to have a poll by doing what they understand in an industry that is dying and they are trying to sell that off as a fact. But its just a poll taken from backwards derelicts who are out of touch with reality and are by their very nature the products of the modern news cycle for which they provide the content. But that content does not represent reality.

The shocker is that even with the Fox News poll trying to pain the picture that a majority of Americans support gun control, which they don’t, the real trick is in trying to get Republicans to play ball with Democrats to give a legislative victory that they can run on in 2020. By puffing up their feathers at Fox News with what they hope the President will be suckered into supporting, they are trying to shape policy from a New York perspective that goes against the rest of the nation, that secretly support Trump through new media. If Fox News could do that they fantasize, they may survive in the marketplace beyond 2024 because it will take the wind out of the sales of all the new media out there that is beating the crap out of traditional media. And that is where the real fight is. There is no appetite for gun control from real voters, because they see the game. But the establishment is trying to shape opinion at a critical time while they still can. Hopefully, the President won’t fall for it.

But if he does, he does. It won’t change reality.

Rich Hoffman

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