At the risk of violating my New Years resolution to wean myself from constantly looking at polls (I've avoided going to firethirtyeight and realclearpolitics all month), I feel compelled to note some polling data on gun control in New Hampshire.
Channel 9 ran with it last night and I assume the print media has followed suit today, so the results are out there.
Ah yes, page 2 of today's Union Leader, a four column headline, "NEC poll: Majority in NH support assault weapons ban". The paper thought the story was so important that lead (?) reporter John Distaso was given the assignment. My only quibble would be that, from the numbers, the headline probably should have been "Huge Majority" but then, as I recall from my headline writing days, such things are often decided by the amount of space available to fit the words in, and Distaso does manage to work "large majority" into his lead sentence.
I only mention it here to point out that no matter how many emails elected officials receive on a given issue (HB 135, the so-called stand your ground repeal has generated more than a thousand and counting), the best indicator of public sentiment most likely remains polling data.
Any group can flood the email lines or a hall of people, but that's hardly a scientific survey. Thus, if you want to legislate by following public opinion (I've never been afflicted by that disease), looking at polls is probably better than looking at emails or the number of people who sign in for a given bill.
Note that this polling data from New England College is not about HB135 or stand your ground, but I assume that most people who showed up on that issue Tuesday would be in a severe minority in this polling data.
Here's how huge the numbers are. 72 percent of those polled (656 registered voters, a rather substantial sample) favored and only 24 percent opposed a so-called assault weapons ban. Another way of saying that would be, by nearly a three to one margin NH voters support the ban.
It's even greater for the idea of universal background checks. the margin is nearly nine to one (88 percent in favor; 10 percent opposed).
Men favored the assault weapons ban 64-34 while it's 80-16 percent for women, no real surprise there.
It would be most interesting to see polling data on HB135, not that any of us ever consider polls when voting. Do we?