Are Anti-Gunners Winning the Hearts and Minds of Americans?

A couple of months ago I was looking at the Facebook pages of the best known pro and anti 2nd amendment  groups and wondered how their growth trends compare. This is a meaningful measure, because FB is so ubiquitous that it can meaningfully reflect culture in general. And while it’s immediately apparent the NRA owns a 10:1 “like” advantage over the largest anti group, Bloomberg’s “Every Town”( and  considerably more over the rest, which are not really worthy of mention — only Moms Demand Action is over 100k), are the anti groups really gaining popular momentum?  As the Bloomberg financed “Moms” (the under 100k group) would have us believe? Not finding any public resources with the answer I did my own study, and the short answer is “No.” The longer answer is “Hell No.”

And to sum up:

1. Anti 2nd amendment FB groups are much smaller than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 10x)
2. Anti 2nd amdment FB groups are growing much slower than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 4x)
3. Anti 2nd amendment FB groups have an older following than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 25-44 for the NRA and 55+ for Bloomberg’s Everytown)

My data collection ended when FB changed how they report on groups and “likes” a couple days ago, but the new stats they provided proved to be very interesting. As you can tell by looking at the info below for the NRA, The Brady Campaign, and Bloomberg’s “Everytown Against Gun Violence” (formerly Demand Action):

It appears that anti-gun activism really is an "old white liberal" thing

It appears that anti-gun activism really is an "old white liberal" thing

So besides being 10:1 larger than the heavily promoted Bloomberg group the NRA has a younger following (25-44)  while the Bloomberg group is identified by AARP members (55+). The Brady Campaign also has an older demographic (35-54).

So the NRA, often described as a dying group of all old white males, has by far the youngest following. And this (admittedly pre-Newtown, though I don’t think anything has changed)  survey shows that a majority of High School and College Age kids intend to own guns, EVEN if they came from a non-gun owning family.

I’m not surprised by any of the above. While I can only observe the people around me, this matches up with what I see. The majority of the 20 somethings I know personally are the sons/daughters of friends, and while many grew up in non-gun households most of them own guns (in one case to the serious chagrin of their parents, who though my close friends are anti-gun liberals). More young women I know also embrace guns for self defense, including the two daughters of the aforementioned anti-gunner friends (and both are looking to get their CCW license soon).

Here are a few more graphs I created from my data collection (data collection period 3/30/14 – 5/30/14).

This first one shows the members added per hour over the ~24 hour periods I collected. As you can see NRA has a better trend line than Bloomberg’s Everytown and about a 4:1 advantage in adds per hour. You might think this could be a function of size of the group, but there doesn’t seem to be a correlation there; there are only so many people who want to join each group, and while both are growing slower now than they did initially Bloomberg’s group has hit a harder/lower plateau then the NRA:

Members (likes) added per hour over term of study

With the exception of the day EGS merged two groups, NRA continues to grow at about 4x the rate of EGS

This Graph shows the average members added per hour over the entire 2 month course of study. I also tracked Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun rights (which is actually the largest pro-2nd amendment group, though not with the same growth numbers as the NRA, which will probably soon overtake it):

Average members (likes) added per hour over study period

Average members (likes) added per hour over study period

This graph shows the growth of the groups I followed (not all groups were collected for the entire period). I didn’t decide to start tracking NAGR until well underway, so I don’t have numbers for them for the entire period. As you can see the largest group is the NAGR, the fastest growing is the NRA. The smallest and slowest growing is EGS:

Growth of tracked groups over period of study

Growth of tracked groups over period of study

Below are the total “likes” of each group as of 5/30/14. NAGR is the largest, NRA is almost as large and consistently growing at a faster rate:

Total Likes as of 5/30/14

Total Likes as of 5/30/14

So to sum up … on average the NRA grows at about 4x the rate of EGS and all of the pro-2nd amendment groups grow faster than EGS (no other anti-gun group I found can even compare). And not only that, but the only thing that really seems to affect Bloomberg’s group is his promotion of it, as even major events have little affect. The major events played upon by the anti-2nd amendment groups in this period included (and if you check the dates you’ll no real impact):

4/2/14 — Fort Hood Shooting
4/13/14 — KS Synagogue Shooting
4/16/14 — Blooomberg Announced “Everytown to Prevent Gun Violence” (EGS)
4/26/14 — Opening of NRA annual meeting and Bloomberg Mom’s protest
5/20/14 — Chipotle victory for Bloomberg Mom’s (reaction to Texas open carry event)
5/24/14 — Santa Barbara Shooting

None of those had a significant effect. The biggest effect was when Bloomberg changed the group from Demand Action to Every Town, with the “adds” plummeting and one day even having a negative growth (more left than added).

Some notes on my collection:

I collected at varying intervals, but I used all automated time calculations and formulas so everything evens out in the end. I did change time zones a couple of times during the study, but this equally affected all parties and evens out in the end because I began and ended my collection in Denver (MST).  If I’d planned ahead I would have been more consistent, but I did this just to satisfy my own curiosity and didn’t consider sharing it until near the end. My collection consisted of:

1. Using MS Excel to create dates for each entry (Excel dates are based on hours).
2. Immediately cutting and pasting “like” numbers from FB pages.
3. Using MS Excel formulas to generate all data based on the Excel date.

I will be glad to send the .csv file of my collection anyone interested via email. Just let me know.

7 comments to Are Anti-Gunners Winning the Hearts and Minds of Americans?

  • Roger Tranfaglia

    MR. Wright…
    Thank you,thank you THANK YOU… for the info…….
    The majority of the American people are not stupid , your reasearch proves it! We are smarter than 10 years ago,we can better tell when we are being lied to by the like of “politicians” and “Ilegal Mayors Against Guns”
    I’m saving the article to show my “moon bat” sister (bless her little heart)

  • In all fairness, you can’t really use Facebook likes as a legitimate measure of popularity or actual membership. There are firms that sell likes and we’re pretty certain Bloomberg bought a lot of likes for Everytown and MDA. Antis count all their followers on social media as members as well as all who sign up for their e-mail campaigns, fully knowing that opponents follow them to keep track. Everytown also grew far too rapidly after launch to represent anywhere near the percentage of the population that is engaged or interested on the anti-gun side.

    • From what I’ve seen … you can buy a few thousand likes, but not a hundred thousand. There may be companies I don’t know of, but I can believe these numbers in any case because his groups are HEAVILY promoted. I probably get a post pushed into my newsfeed from one of his groups every day. But whatever he’s spending on it and whatever he’s doing he’s still failing. But you can’t take away that the people he does share and comment enough to prove that a good percentage of them are real.

      I don’t know if the NRA promotes it’s FB page or not. I never get any unsolicited posts from them but since I’m already a member …

  • From what I’ve seen of some of the smaller anti-gun groups like CSGV and NAGV, they went from a few thousand ‘likes’ to about 50K in about a months time after sitting still for years.

    Not suspicious, not suspicious at all.

  • therain

    Shows that people value their rights more than biden thinks so.

  • Hey there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m
    looking for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I
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    My blog yahoo

    • I’m using wordpress with the Atahualpa from BytesForAll (see the tag at the very bottom of this page). I set it up some time ago and honestly don’t do much with it anymore, but I’ve liked it.