Typically they mean whatever someone wanted them to mean when they started the poll. Right?
Most recently the news and politicians discussed that 90% of Americans wanted universal registrations. So that is what the media slams across the stations and papers. But really the poll this comes from asked whether people wanted required background checks for all gun buyers with nothing about mental health additions or the other things stuffed into the proposed bill(s). Really it was 91% and of course they also fail to mention the scope being about 1700 people across a handful of states. According to my trusty microsoft windows calculator, that really means 91% of .00055% of Americans supported background checks for all gun buyers. No matter how enthusiastic you are about those stats… they in no way mean 90% of all Americans.
Interesting that the majority opinion from that same sale poll thought all these background checks would eventually lead to confiscation of legally owned guns. And they were ok with that? Epic fail. I think we are all aware of the problem here. Communication and understanding.
Ok, I love my Mom. We discuss recent gun topics from time to time when we chat. That said, she is under the impression that everyone is Fedex’ing firearms directly to doorsteps because the “gunshow/internet loophole allows it”. She also believed that the weapons used in all these horrible events were fully automatic with bullets spraying out like dollar bills at a bachelor party. The list goes on, although I try to debunk all the misunderstandings as we talk. Frankly, sometimes I am astounded at the confusion and realize she probably represents the majority of Americans.
How about we poll more people and we be a little more specific in our questions?
I’ll leave this whole thing with a example:
Poll A – Would you want North Korea to no longer be a threat? (yes/no)
Poll B – Would you want North Korea to no longer be a threat, by exterminating every man, woman, and child there? (yes/no)
I think most people would answer yes to Poll A and no to Poll B. The difference? More details of the plan suggested to accomplish the goal, even if Poll A’s unmentioned plans were identical. I bet I could make the result swing to about 90% either way, depending on what I am looking to accomplish and which poll I choose.