Debunking Castleton Poll “89% support background checks for all gun purchases”

2016 CASTLETON POLLS: Still Deceiving the Public
Debunking the Poll from Vermont Public Radio: Skewed Methodology
by Bob DePino

[Full 2016 report here]

Here is how Castleton arrived at the overwhelmingly biased anti-gun responses to this year’s VPR question that has been used by every anti-gun political candidate and activist!

Question: “Do you support or oppose requiring background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales and sales at gun shows?”
Support 89%

CASTLETON POLL: Methodology (from the Castleton website, all details here)

Castleton: 369 by landline (41 percent) and 526 by cell phone (59 percent).
THIS MEANS since many rural Vermonters do NOT have cell phones (because cell service is non-existent in most of Vermont), this poll initiates at a 60:40 ratio of “young” and city-dwelling respondents.
Castleton: Twenty-nine percent of the total sample have no landline at their residence and therefore would be excluded from any chance of inclusion without the cell phone sample frame.
THIS MEANS that 30% of the total respondents have no “home phone”. Since we can equated that most Vermonters don’t have cell phones and ONLY have land-lines that means that 30% of the respondents only HAVE cell phones, and probably do not own their residence. Since cell reception in “rural” areas of Vermont is non-existent, that means that 70% of the respondents live in cities with good to excellent cell service.

Castleton: When calling landline phones, respondents within households were selected by asking first for the youngest male adult in the household. If the youngest male was not available, the interviewer would make an attempt to find the best time to reach the target individual.
Castleton: If there was no male in the household, the interviewer would request to speak to the youngest female.
THIS MEANS Castleton was only allowing the YOUNGEST male or female member of the household to respond to these questions, not the HOME OWNER, nor ANY OTHER household member!
Using 2014 population statistics from Vermont Health website, this means that Castleton specifically targeted ONLY ELEVEN PERCENT (56,453 young men) as “possible respondents” to their poll. Asking for the youngest woman added another 11% (53,849 young ladies) to the mix.
THIS MEANS Castleton INTENTIONALLY EXCLUDED 394,674 Vermonters (78% of older Vermonters) from responding to their anti-gun “poll!”

Castleton: The within household selection is designed to compensate for known biases in landline samples that result in underrepresentation of males and individuals under 30 years of age.
THIS MEANS Castleton speaks of compensating for some supposed “female bias” and thereby justifies it’s creation of an intentionally anti-gun, AGE-BIASED poll!
THIS MEANS Castleton specifically IGNORED ALL “old school” Vermonters, older hunters and sportsmen & women, most home owners, grandparents, and everyone else “over 30!”
This poll did not state that the respondent actually be a REGISTERED VOTER, and many respondents who CAN vote, are not old enough to purchase pistols, again biasing the results of the question “allowed to carry a firearm” to “gun owners” who may have a long gun but do not carry a pistol because they aren’t old enough to purchase one, so why do they need to carry?

Castleton: For cell phones, interviewers spoke with the individual answering the phone provided that the individual met the screening criteria (e.g. “adult living in Vermont”).
THIS MEANS Castleton again did not verify that the respondent actually be a REGISTERED VOTER.

Castleton: Every county in the state is represented within 3 percentage points of its proportion of the state’s population prior to weighting the data.
Castleton: The final data are weighted by county, gender, and age to adjust for differential response rates in order to assure that the data are as representative of the state’s actual adult population as closely as possible.
THIS MEANS Castleton did not use the actual numbers of respondents in each zip code, but weighted them. Since 92% of Vermont’s population reside in RURAL areas with a population density of LESS THAN 100 people per square mile, those 7% of Vermont towns with a population density of over 200 per square mile could easily sway the results to the anti-gun response rate. Apparently, most city dwellers do not own hunting rifles or semi-auto rifles, just ask the voters in Burlington (population density of 2,512 people per square mile!) or maybe Winooski (population density of 4,720 people per square mile!)
Ninety-two percent of the Vermont population resides in towns with LESS than 200 people per square mile!
Castleton cannot weigh the rural towns heavily enough to even compare to the top 20 cities!
At most, Castleton could have selected no more than 30% rural responses.
Specifically asking for the YOUNGEST person at the home reduces the likelihood that the person ACTUALLY owns a firearm, or knows ANYTHING about firearm rights and laws.
The accuracy of the number of “gun owners” is nothing more than “trust” in the response.
How many people will answer “I don’t have any guns in my home” over the telephone when being questioned by a complete stranger who is WRITING THIS INFORMATION DOWN?
Frankly, it is NOBODY’S BUSINESS and the question should NOT be asked.
No guns = Invitation to robbery.

What about public polls by Castleton, NOT sponsored by anti-gun organizations like Gun Sense Vermont and VPR?
#1: February 2015, Issues Facing Vermonters in 2015: (A tiny TWO PERCENT mentioned “guns.”)
#2: September 2015, Vermont Issues Poll: (An astounding ZERO PERCENT mentioned “guns.”)

Since Castleton INTENTIONALLY EXCLUDED 78% of older Vermonters from responding to their VPR anti-gun “poll,” what else are all these people lying about?
The short answer, “Everything.”


For more info: Anti-Gun Facts Debunked