NRA News Falls Flat In Discrediting Bipartisan Swing State Poll

On last night's edition of Cam & Company on National Rifle Association News, host Cam Edwards and guest Jim Geraghty of the National Review Online baselessly attacked the methodology of a bipartisan poll that showed voters in Virginia, Colorado, and North Carolina trusted President Obama more on gun policy than Mitt Romney.

A poll by Democratic pollster Momentum Analysis and Republican pollster Chesapeake Beach Consulting found that voters in Virginia trusted President Obama more than Mitt Romney on guns by a 9 point margin, and in Colorado and North Carolina by four and one point margins.

Edwards and Geraghty erroneously claimed that the poll could not have produced meaningful results because they said it only sampled 500 voters across three states, and they questioned whether the sample was representative. In fact, the poll's methodology clearly states that 500 voters were sampled in each of three states polled, a sample size commonly used among professional pollsters. Reached for comment, the pollsters indicated that they used “industry accepted” techniques in conducting the poll.

Host Cam Edwards read the poll's methodology on air that described polling 500 voters in each of the three states, yet Edwards still bizarrely arrived at the conclusion that only “166 people per state” were polled and also claimed “when you only have a sample of 500 people across three states, it's going to make it really really difficult.” Inadvertently describing the poll's actual methodology, Geraghty stated, “You can make 1500 calls, come on,” and went on to say “The bottom line is, folks, don't read too much into this wacky poll of three states with tiny samples.” 

Edwards also employed the discredited theory of “unskewed polling” pushed by conservatives in media prior to the 2012 election, claiming, "[The pollsters] apparently did not ask -- they said 'Did you vote?' and I guess if you said yes, you were in. So they didn't crosstab as to who did you vote for to see if the sample size they were getting looked roughly similar to what the electorate actually looked like on Election Day."

Contacted by Media Matters, the pollsters defended their methodology, stating that the survey employed “a common, industry accepted way of screening for voters.”

The survey sample was developed using each state's voter file. The state list of registered voters was filtered to include only those who had voted in one or more of the three most recent general elections (2006, 2008 or 2010). We then screened those people for having voted in the 2012 general election. This is a common, industry accepted way of screening for voters. Each survey was conducted by the bi-partisan polling team of Momentum Analysis and Chesapeake Beach Consulting. 

Mark Glaze, whose Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization paid for the poll, told Media Matters that the polling results were in line with election outcomes that evidence “a broad and deep rejection of the NRA's extreme agenda.”

A long series of national polls, by Republican and Democratic pollsters, have consistently found widespread support for stronger gun laws.  That includes this year's survey of 945 gun owners by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, which found that the NRA's Washington lobbyists are wildly out of sync with their own membership.  For example, 74 percent of NRA members support criminal background checks for all gun buyers - a position their Washington office fights to kill.  The bottom line is that the Senate, House and Presidential election outcomes all reflect a broad and deep rejection of the NRA's extreme agenda. 

It is not surprising that the NRA's media arm would attempt to discredit the poll, as it offered further evidence that conventional wisdom in the media that the NRA can “reliably deliver votes” is false. With the façade of electoral dominance crumbling, the NRA's ability to influence elections came under scrutiny from The Washington Post, The Hill and other media outlets after the NRA spent $18 million dollars on the 2012 elections to little effect