Data in Policy Debate: Fitting Data to Your Gun Control Story

While doing research for our upcoming book Wedged, we came across two graphs floating around the Internet that gave us a long double-take-turned-digression. The two graphs each tell a story about the link between gun ownership and homicide across the 50 states of the US. 

One shows a very strong positive correlation; one shows no correlation at all. The two graphs are posted below, with their sources. As an exercise, take a few minutes to inspect the graphs closely, using some of the lessons from our last post on data in policy debate, and take a look at the pages they came from to understand the methodology and sourcing (spoiler: neither has totally made-up data). Leave a comment with your answer to: "why do these graphs look so different?"

We'll post a follow-up early next week with a post that adds whatever we found in case the comments don't get all of it. This is a really fun and enlightening exercise; hope you guys enjoy.

Mother Jones's positive correlation:


Erik Fogg

We do politics, but we don't do the thinking for you.