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Lessons for why the polls seem to be so wrong lately?

by John Lott on Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Here are a few interesting notes on the problems that we are experiencing with polling and why the problems aren’t going to get any better in the near future.  From Politico:

. . . But changes in communications are threatening the viability of public election polling in many developed countries where the landline phone was once a reliable medium for representative surveys 

Like their counterparts in the United States, Britons are abandoning their landlines. Telephone pollsters have shifted, contacting an increasing percentage of their respondents via mobile phone, but perhaps not enough, according to many pollsters. In the United States, polling mobile phones is far more expensive than relying on landlines, because survey researchers are required by law to enter cellphone numbers manually when dialing. . . .

Alberto Nardelli, data editor at The Guardian newspaper, noted last month that phone polls tended to favor the Tories, while Labour performed better in Internet polls. That phenomenon existed as late as a week ago, according to the New Statesman’s “May 2015” website.

“I would be concerned about what looks like systematic errors in the British polling — under-representation of Conservative voters and overestimation of support for the Labour Party,” said University of Michigan professor Michael Traugott. “I haven’t seen any polls that suggested that the Scottish National Party was going to do extremely well in Scotland at the expense of Labour primarily. So, systematic errors like that, patterned errors like that, suggest methodological problems.”

(Similarly, in Israel, some observers believe Web polling was biased against Netanyahu’s Likud Party and swayed the overall balance of pre-election forecasts.) . . .

Telephone polls are increasingly unreliable and too expensive, while Internet polling isn’t yet able to replace truly random surveys. . . .

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If you want to go to a fast food restaurant where other customers share your political views, here is the list

by John Lott on Monday, April 20th, 2015

This list was put together by the Wall Street Journal.  Interestingly, Liberals congregate in only three fast food restaurants.  Conservatives appear more spread out.  Conservatives don’t dominate any restaurant the way that Liberals do — CHIPOTLE and AU BON PAIN.  If you include a restaurant where Liberals are just as likely as not to go to (a rating of 100), you would get a third restaurant: Jack-in-the-box.  By contrast there are six restaurants where Conservatives have a rating of 103 or higher and nine where they are above 100.

It would be interesting to see how Starbucks was for conservatives before their meaningless statement of asking people not to bring guns into their restaurants.

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Appearance on the Steve Malzberg Show: How guns help stop terrorism and the New York Times makes embarrassing mistakes

by John Lott on Friday, February 20th, 2015

This is article 603 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
I was on the Steve Malzberg TV show on NewsMaxTV today.  The video of the show is available here.

Founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of “More Guns, Less Crime” joins Steve to discuss how guns are helping to stop terrorists and how The New York Times is making up anti-gun information as well as whether or not the ATF is trying to neuter certain ammunitions in the U.S.


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Talks that I will giving this week

by John Lott on Monday, February 9th, 2015

This is article 602 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
1) St. Thomas University School of Law (Miami, Florida): Gun Control Laws in America: Do They Work? Speakers: John R. Lott Jr. and TBD Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at Noon Location: Moot Court Room.
2) Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Georgia):
a) Wednesday, February 11, from 12:30 to 1:45 PM: “Why Criminals and Terrorists like Gun Bans,” Burruss Building, room 105
b) Wednesday, February 11, from 3:30 to 4:45 PM: “An Introduction to Law and Economics,” Burruss Building, room 151
3) Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri): Thursday, February 12 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, John Lott and Paul Helmke will be debating on whether or not America has the proper regulations over firearms. They will discuss how guns come into play with small violations to mass murders.
Lott was just in Albany, New York speaking this past Sunday.

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Two burglars were thwarted by a University of Central Florida student with a gun

by John Lott on Sunday, February 1st, 2015

This is article 601 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
Students also benefit from the option to protect themselves.  In the video available here, the male student describes how one of the burglars pointed a gun (what turned out to be a pellet gun) at point blank range right at the student’s head.  From in Orlando, Florida:

. . . Deputies said the culprits barged into the student’s apartment after knocking on the door at the Village at Alafaya Club Tuesday night.

One of the residents answered the door and was forced to the ground at gunpoint as the men ransacked the apartment, investigators said.

“He grabbed me by the throat. He took me a little further into the living room and pushed me down and said, ‘Don’t move. Just stay down,'” UCF student Nour Skargee, 22, said. “They didn’t realize my girlfriend was in her room and thank God she was in her room. I yelled, ‘Hey, grab the gun.'”

The second victim, Sable Nehme, ran to her bedroom, retrieved her gun and pointed it at the culprits, deputies said. . . .

Two quotes that do a good job of describing how

Intended victim Sable Nehme: “when he saw the gun, he turned right back around, darted out and both of them fled the apartment”

Intended victim UCF student Nour Skargee, 22, said : “If we didn’t have a gun, it would have been game over. They were bigger than me, bigger than both of us. We had no way of stopping them. The gun was the one thing that made them run.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at  Sunday, February 1, 2.25 AM 1 Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at  Sunday, February 1, 2.26 AM

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Note that the places Al Queda has discussed attacking in the US are places where few permitted concealed handguns are allowed

by John Lott on Friday, January 9th, 2015

This is article 803 of 805 in the topic Terrorism
From Yahoo News:

Al Qaeda militants in Syria are plotting attacks to inflict mass casualties in the West, possibly against transport systems or “iconic targets”, the head of Britain’s MI5 Security Service said on Thursday.Speaking after gunmen killed 12 people in an assault on a French satirical newspaper, MI5 boss Andrew Parker warned a strike on the United Kingdom was highly likely. . . .

From the Daily Beast:

In the Spring 2014 issue, for example, Inspire proposed attacking cities and military facilities in northern Virginia, the site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and targets in Los Angeles and Chicago. . . .

In Los Angeles, there are only about 240 concealed handgun permits in an adult population of about 8 million people.  In Chicago, it costs about $500 to go through the process of getting a concealed handgun permit.

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Armed smash and grab cell phone thieves stopped my armed employee

by John Lott on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

This is article 599 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
St. Louis has been plagued for years by armed robbers who break into cell phone stores and steal all the cell phones that they can grab. An example from June 2013 is available here.  Here is the police account from a robbery today:

. . . An employee arrived to start work and saw two men in a Mitsubishi Diamante drive into the front glass door of the store. The men then entered the store carrying bags, followed by a third man who had exited a Jeep Cherokee. Once inside the store, the men began to smash out the glass on the counters where cell phones were stored. The employee retrieved a firearm and began shooting at the burglars, hitting one. The trio dropped the bags and ran from the store. The cell phones were all recovered. . . . .

These robberies with the thieves smashing their cars through store windows must be pretty scary.

Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link.

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Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate in Texas, Wendy Davis, just said that she supported open carry as a way to win political support, she didn’t really believe it

by John Lott on Thursday, January 1st, 2015

This is article 600 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
This past June, Wendy Davis painted herself as being pro-gun on many issues (from open carry to allowing permitted concealed handguns to be stored in people’s cars on college campuses to reducing training for permits).  Democrats, of course, denied the claim that Davis was really anti-gun and just pretending to be pro-self defense.  As the argument went this past summer, from Politico:

Rising Democratic star and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has joined her top Republican rival in supporting a proposed “open carry” law. It would allow people with concealed handgun licenses to wear a pistol on their hip, in full view, while in public.

Davis has said she supports expanding gun rights in Texas. In a statement to the Associated Press, she said that includes open-carry — a position that puts her at odds with her own party but could keep her from alienating gun rights advocates in a deeply conservative state where the Second Amendment is sacrosanct. . . .

Davis, who said she keeps a gun at her home for protection, supported legislation last year to allow college students with concealed handgun licenses to keep their weapons in their cars. She also voted for reduced training requirements to get such a license.

Still, gun rights advocates were skeptical. Texas State Rifle Association spokeswoman Alice Tripp noted Davis’ previous calls for more restrictions on gun show sales and past votes against allowing concealed license holders to carry their guns in classrooms and buildings on college campuses.

“Wendy Davis has a very bad record as far as gun owners go,” Tripp said, calling Davis an “opportunist.”

Abbott spokesman Adviel Huerta expressed a similar sentiment. . . .

But veteran Democratic consultant Harold Cook said Abbott supporters have already tried to portray Davis as anti-gun.

“If the issue isn’t important to you, then it would be smart to take it off the table by saying, ‘Me, too; now let’s go back to talking about education and how we fund road building and the stuff the mainstream of Texas is really concerned with,'” he said. . . .

Well, now Davis says that she really didn’t believe her promise and just said it to get elected.  She told the San Antonio newspaper:

There is one thing that I would do differently in that campaign, and it relates to the position that I took on open carry. I made a quick decision on that with a very short conversation with my team and it wasn’t really in keeping with what I think is the correct position on that issue.” . . .

Note: I am not a big fan of open carry, so it isn’t upsetting to me that she didn’t support it, but saying she did when she really didn’t is the problem.

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Concealed handgun permit holder comes to the rescue and stops four people from robbing a man

by John Lott on Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

This is article 598 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
From WDAZ Channel 8 TV (ABC) in Fargo, North Dakota:

A passer-by with a handgun stopped four people from assaulting and robbing a 36-year-old man Monday afternoon in downtown, according to Fargo police.

.Lt. Joel Vettel said one of the four knew the victim and lured him behind a building in the 900 block of NP Avenue. There, the man was assaulted, knocked unconscious and robbed of his wallet, Vettel said.

Police were dispatched to the scene about 12:10 p.m. and learned that the passer-by, who has a license to carry a concealed weapon, brandished his gun to end the robbery, Vettel said.

All four of the alleged robbers were being held Monday evening at the Cass County Jail. . . .

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Concealed carry permit holder stops mall robbery by three teen robbers

by John Lott on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

This is article 595 of 603 in the topic Gun Rights
From WDTN in Dayton, Ohio about an attempted robbery on Monday, December 22nd:

. . . According to police, three juvenile males from Middletown approached two adult males outside the Dayton Mall around 10:00 a.m. Saturday. They say one of the juveniles produced a gun and demanded merchandise from the adult males. Police say one of the males, who had a valid concealed carry weapon permit, pulled out a gun of his own and shot the teen who had the gun. That teen, identified as Jawaad Jabbar, 16, died from a single gunshot wound. . . .

Police say the two groups did not know each other and the only motive known is that of aggravated robbery to gain control of another’s property.

Sgt. Jay Phares said the teen didn’t make it to the mall in time to get in line for the shoes.  “This was a random act of ‘I want something that person has and I’m going to take it from them by any means’,” said Sgt. Phares.

Two juveniles with the victim are in juvenile detention.  They are not charged pending further investigation.  Police are investigating whether they too had weapons. . . .

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