For the last week, the media has presented a consistent narrative about the “March For Our Lives” rally in D.C., which we’ve been told is one of the most significant demonstrations of its kind in American history: it was a student-led, mostly young people-attended rally for a unified cause: gun control. But an extensive survey of the marchers highlighted by The Washington Post found that, in fact, “it wasn’t mostly young people” and less than half were actually there to protest guns. As for the notion that the marchers were a cross-section of the American public, almost all of them voted for Hillary Clinton.
The survey, conducted by Dana Fisher who’s currently working on a book aptly titled “American Resistance,” found that only 27% of the attendees were “first-time protesters.” Only 10% of the attendees were under 18 years old. The average age of the march participants was 49 years old, which Fisher notes is actually higher than the average of most of the rallies she’s studied.
Of the first-time protesters, only 12% “reported that they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue.” So what were the other motivations? Nearly four times as many (42%) were there to protest Donald Trump, while 56% were there for “peace.”
While about only 1 in 10 of the new protesters were there specifically for gun control, the far more numerous “seasoned” protesters were more likely to be there for the issue. But even among them, only 60% said that gun control was the key cause they were there to promote. That means that in total, only about 47% of attendees cited gun control as what motivated them to participant in March For Our Lives. The Post reports:
About 27 percent of participants at the March for Our Lives had never protested before. This group was less politically engaged in general: Only about a third of them had contacted an elected official in the past year, while about three-quarters of the more seasoned protesters had.
Even more interesting, the new protesters were less motivated by the issue of gun control. In fact, only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting reported that they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue, compared with 60 percent of the participants with experience protesting.
As for the political leanings of the marchers, that was far more unified: They overwhelmingly leaned left: “79 percent identified as ‘left-leaning’ and 89 percent reported voting for Hillary Clinton.” About 16% identified themselves as “moderate.”
The attendees weren’t only far more left-leaning than a truly representative rally would have been, a strong majority were females: 70% of attendees were female and of them around the same percentage had at least a four-year college degree.