A 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?
- 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?