This past weekend, streets around the US and beyond were flooded with rallies once again, this time for the March for Our Lives. The March in DC is estimated to have brought out up to 800,000 people to rally around the issue of Gun Control.
I was in the crowds in DC, surveying with a 6-person research team (and my daughter who experienced her first protest and her first exposure to doing social science all on one day!). Based on our sample of 256 participants that was collected from throughout the crowd there are some very notable findings:
- Although the March was called by the Parkland students, most of the crowd was adults (only 9.7% of the crowd was under 18) and the average age of the adults participating was higher than at any other event that I have studied since the Resistance began after Donald Trump’s Inauguration.
- The March turned out a lot of new people to protest. 27% of March participants were completely new to protest (vs 16% at the 2018 Women’s March).
- The March turned out a lot of political moderates. 16% of March participants identified as politically moderate (the highest percentage at any march since the Resistance began).
- New people reported being much less motivated by the issue of Gun Control to participated (12% versus 60% of people who had participated in a protest before).
Overall, these findings suggest that free music and young people helped expand the tent at this event. The question that remains is whether these people will stay involved in the issue of Gun Control and become active members of the Resistance?