With all of the vocal and vociferous hatred directed at the National Rifle Association, in general and especially in the wake of the Newtown massacre, it would be easy to think that the NRA is a highly unpopular organization whose deplorable degree of ill-begotten political clout only comes from some nefarious combination of money and corruption. The denunciations of the gun-rights advocate range from fervently partisan to downright evil, and the condemnations might make it seem that their many ostensibly under-handed dealings are at cross-purposes with most Americans’ opinions.

The actual reason that the NRA has so much political clout, however, is merely because it has so much popular support. Progressives are quick to point out as fact that the NRA tirelessly works against both the American majority and widespread common sense, but the NRA has over four million active members and most Americans hold a favorable opinion of the organization, according to Gallup: