Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

November 12, 2010 -

A new Rasmussen poll of Americans on the subject of violent videogames found that 54 percent of those polled believed that violent games lead to more violence in society.

The latest survey of 1,000 adults took place on November 8-9 and that 54 percent number held steady from a similar poll conducted in April of this year. In response to the question “How concerned are you about the level of violence in many video games today?” 69 percent indicated they were at least somewhat concerned, while 48 percent were “very concerned.”

29 percent were not concerned and 13 percent were not at all concerned.

65 percent of those polled, when asked “Should states be allowed to prohibit the sale or rental of violent video games to minors?” answered in the affirmative, while 25 percent answered no.

When posed the question about who is more responsible for limiting access to violent games, parents, game publishers or the government, only five percent chose the government, with the majority (71 percent) selecting parents. 21 percent thought the producers of videogames should be responsible.

Additionally:

Far more women than men favor state laws prohibiting the sale of violent games to minors. Adults with children at home are more likely to feel the responsibility of restricting such content falls primarily to the parent, while more adults who do not have children think video game makers should take responsibility.

A similar poll conducted by Gallup for the First Amendment Center also showed respondents selecting parents overwhelmingly, when it came to selecting who should screen the intake of violent games by kids.

Much like the Gallup poll, the Rasmussen poll shows that the public (apparently) is reasonably okay with states governing violent game intake, while putting the onus on parents, over the government, for screening out violent content… seems diametrically opposed.


Pic from Cheezburger.com

Comments

Re: Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

"Adults with children at home are more likely to feel the responsibility of restricting such content falls primarily to the parent, while more adults who do not have children think video game makers should take responsibility."

I'm not sure about that... I, and I think almost all of the people I see commenting on articles around the web who, like me, do not have children are certain that it is the parents' responsibility more than the government's. Sorry to revert to stereotype, but I think that assertion may be driven by the number of older respondents (including those whose children now have children of their own).

Re: Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

I wonder how much of the gender gap in those results is due to the asymetric exposure to games we got a generation ago.  Far more males then females grew up with games.....  so while a male in his 40s might have a good exposure, a female would be less likely to.... so we run into the standard generational problem but with a strange offset by gender.

Re: Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

I won't say "weird" results as they're perfectly predictable -- "contradictory" is more accurate.

It's all in the phrasing of the question.  Ask if states should be allowed to ban the sale of violent video games to minors and that sounds like common sense; ask if the government has a responsibility to keep minors from playing violent video games and that sounds like nanny-state overreach -- even though they mean exactly the same thing.

Re: Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

Seems to me that indicates exactly how bad people are at being proper parents.  I think the first question indicates that the government should protect children when they're out of the home.  The second question is more about implying government control inside the home.

People get all fired up when you talk about how they raise their kids inside their home.  But once the kids are outside playing or going to school or whatever, suddenly it's the government's responsibility to essentially be their parent?  No, that is the stupid part IMO.  That's called sheltering your kids and not preparing them to interact with the rest of the world when they eventually have to leave the house, and you're a bad parent.

Re: Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

That's an interesting point and a perfectly valid reading of the questions.  That's the trouble -- it's hard to tell what any given respondent would infer from the wording.

Re: Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

Damn it I love the image used for this one.

And aren't most polls considered bullshit anyways? :/

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Re: Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

Depends on what you mean by "most polls" and who is doing the considering.

If, when you say "most polls", you include unscientific polling sources like websites where anyone can vote, then yeah, it's fair to say that most polls ARE bullshit.

But if you limit it to scientific polls, well, that's sort of a different story.

There are a few major, respected polling agencies in the US.  They use random sampling and significant sample sizes; if their studies are performed correctly then they're generally a fair reflection of public opinion.  But they have their biases too -- Zogby tends to be way off-base in my observation, and Rasmussen tends to skew toward a more conservative bias than most of the others.  (That's probably not really relevant in this particular poll; as we've discussed on GP ad nauseam, this isn't really a liberal-versus-conservative issue; regulating the sale of violent video games has proponents and opponents on both sides of that artificial divide.)

And a lot of it is in how you ask a question.  Simple questions produce the most reliable results: "Who are you going to vote for?" questions tend to be pretty reliable (though in a close race, can only reliably tell you that the race is close, not necessarily call the winner).

More complex or abstract questions don't draw results that are as clear or reliable, and the phrasing of a question is very important.  As I noted in my earlier reply, the contradictory results of this poll are actually pretty predictable; people will give different opinions on the same issue depending on how it's phrased.  Frame it as a states' rights issue and people will support it; call it government responsibility and they won't.

 
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