Is the NRA Winning the Influence Battle?
Bruce Rogers at Forbes makes a pretty convincing argument that they are:
Forbes Insights and Appinions looked at the data for the week prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy and trended the data over the subsequent 5 weeks to determine the ebb and flow over the gun control debate. We found that the NRA and the pro-gun rights voices are winning the influence battle and will continue to be strong and more influential if the pro gun control voice remains fragmented. On the flip side, the pro gun control voice could certainly gain influence if they establish a more united voice. Here are some other interesting observations from the data:
Republican politicians are missing from the debate. The debate is an influence battle between President Barack Obama’s Democrats and Wayne LaPierre’s NRA. Of the top 25 stakeholders in the debate, there is only 1 prominent Republican politician (Chris Christie – who is pro-gun control). Barack Obama leads the pro-gun control voice with a net influence score of 268. LaPierre leads the anti-gun control side with a net influence score of 240.
It’s a Marathon, not a sprint. It seems the NRA has the stamina to out-run the pro-gun control movement. They are persistent, un-yielding and gaining influence. It will be interesting to see how the pro-gun control voice responds and how the influence between the two groups changes as the debate persists.
The pro-gun rights voice is rapidly gaining influence while the pro-gun control voice has tapered in recent weeks. Momentum is shifting and the gun control debate is becoming a platform benefiting gun rights advocates.
The pro–gun control group is fragmented whereas the pro-gun rights voice is united and strong. Of the top influencers on the pro-gun rights side, the majority of the most prominent voices are from the NRA. The pro-gun control voice is split between Obama and several gun control advocacy groups which dilutes the message.
This would certainly seem to indicate that information filtered through a hostile media is, in this instance, being ignored or given less weight than more independent sources of information like social media and talk radio. Also, vicious on-air attacks directed against Wayne LaPierre and the NRA seem to be backfiring, generating some sympathy.
It helps that gun control advocates appear hysterical at times with a tendency to vastly overstate their case and dismiss counterarguments. In truth, gun advocates are prone to similar hyperbole on the opposite side, but with so many Americans possessing a firearm, or living with them in their houses, the gun control lobby has a much more difficult case to make.
Unless something dramatic happens -- another school shooting or mass murder -- I don't see public opinion changing much. Nor will politicians stick their necks out very far to support much if any of the president's gun control agenda. With the NRA and gun rights advocates winning the battle for hearts and minds, the issue of gun control could easily slide off the radar in the next few weeks.