National Rifle AssociationA Quinnipac poll released this morning serves as evidence of a forceful PR/advocacy/political lobbying campaign’s ability to shape public perceptions of a brand. In short, a majority of Americans say that the National Rifle Association “represents their views” on gun control issues despite disagreeing with some of the organization’s most fundamental positions. What’s going on here?

Key points:

  • The NRA recently came out against proposed legislation that would require universal background checks for all individuals looking to purchase weapons in any setting.
  • This is a messaging shift for the organization, which once strongly supported these checks but now claims they would lead to a “national gun registry” and eventually empower a “tyrannical” government to tax and even confiscate weapons from legal gun owners.
  • The Quinnipac poll finds that an overwhelming 92% of Americans support stronger universal background checks.
  • A majority of the public also supports a proposed ban on the sale of assault weapons and a ban on the sale of “high capacity” magazines (the NRA very strongly opposes both of these restrictions).
  • And yet, when it comes to gun control, the public also believes that the NRA better reflects their own views than President Obama (46% to 43%).

It would appear that the public is confused about exactly what the NRA is–and the policies it advocates.

What conclusions can PR strategists draw from this survey?

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