Modern Survey Stupidity

By James Strauss


How is this one for a blaring blinking and outrageous example of where polling and ‘surveying’ the public has gone? The Health Research Group KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) just released the results of their latest survey about gun violence and death in the U.S. The results should be taken as hilarious but instead the mass media is reporting the obviously garbage results as if they are facts. One fifth of American adults (that would be about on fifth of a hundred and seventy to eighty million people) supposedly claim that a member of their family was killed in the last year by gunfire. One fifth. That number represented concludes by mathematical calculation that some twenty to thirty million people have lost a family member to gunfire in 2022. Since there were only about 23,000 gun-related homicides last year and another 33,000 suicides by gunfire, then the total death by gunfire is about 56,000. How is it that this survey, claiming millions of deaths, is allowed to even reach the light of day? How stupid has the public become? How awful has the mass media become? Gun deaths are pretty bad, but this display of public and media stupidity is worse.

How is it that polls and surveys can somehow be brought back into any sort of believability for the public?  At one time, not that long ago, surveys and polls were conducted by educational institutions or at least monitored and sanctioned by them, but not anymore today.  The Pugh, Gallup, Harris polls and more, all private and for sale to the highest bidder, now provide the slanted, diluted and statistically inappropriate results that, apparently, those paying for them want to see and hear, or at the very least, want the public to see and hear.  The mass media left the arena of truth and mostly self-admittedly, and without notifying the public in almost any way, went into the business of news-like entertainment.  The polling industry, once successfully pulled from educational institutional control, did the same thing. This last gun poll result is indicative of just how skewed, self-serving and dumb the business (which it very much is now) has gotten.  Is this result at all something that the public can learn to live with?

 No, but there may be no alternative.  With the obvious need to start limiting the possession and ownership of guns, particularly assault weapons, the nation is stuck in a difficult position.  There are over four hundred million guns out in the culture.  The only thrust toward keeping many of those guns for being used to kill humans for all sorts of reasons has been to try to designate certain humans and then deny them the possession of firearms, and that’s completely in the face of open evidence that those limited, such as the mentally ill or felons, only make up a very tiny percentage of those doing the killing with firearms.  Part of the problem is illustrated by this latest Kaiser poll.

Without valid data the direction action must be aimed at never is going to hit any valid or responsive target.