Data Viz Done Right

October 5, 2017

Gun Ownership vs. Gun Control - Which do Americans prefer?

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Earlier today I posted a viz from FiveThirtyEight about the growing divide in opinion about gun control and gun ownership when comparing political affiliation. I was quite inspired by the simplicity of the viz and how effectively it communicates, so I decided to use it for vizspiration.

The data used was readily available on Pew Research Center, so I used Google Sheets to import the data. Since FiveThirtyEight focused their viz on those people preferring gun rights over gun ownership, I only used that metric.

However, on the Pew Research Center website there are many other ways that the data is sliced demographically. I started by trying to create a single dashboard that contains each of the demographics displayed simultaneously and it was a mess! In the end, I went with a parameter to allow the user to choose the demographic they are interested in.

What did I find interesting?

  • Overall, there's been a steady increase in the percentage of people preferring gun rights over gun control. Sounds like the NRA's propaganda is working.
  • As stated by FiveThirtyEight, the gap between political parties is growing larger and larger. In the most recent poll (7 Apr 2017), only 20% of self-identified Democrats favored gun rights over gun control, whereas 79% of Republicans favored gun rights. It's this growing partisanship that is really damaging America.
  • The younger generation is less likely to favor gun right over gun control. Is the proliferation and accessibility to information from the younger generation signaling a shift towards more liberal views?
  • The most educated Americans favor gun control over gun rights. Are the undereducated preyed on by the NRA machine?
  • The gap between whites and blacks is as stark as the gap between Republicans and Democrats. 30% more whites than blacks prefer protecting gun rights.
  • Regionally, the South and Midwest prefer gun rights compared to the West and Northeast. This pretty much aligns with any election map you look at.
  • People that live in cities are 26% less likely to favor gun rights over gun control compared to those lives in rural communities. Again, this falls pretty much in line with political affiliation.

UPDATE: Thanks to Rody Zakovich for this great tip for shading between two lines. Much better than my area chart trick!

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