April 17, 2013

Gun Control Bill is Dead

Kevin Drum for Mother Jones:

”How did this happen even though, as liberals remind us endlessly, 90 percent of the American public supports background checks? Because about 80 percent of those Americans think it sounds like a reasonable idea but don’t really care much. I doubt that one single senator will suffer at the polls in 2014 for voting against Manchin-Toomey.

Gun control proposals poll decently all the time. But the plain truth is that there are only a small number of people who feel really strongly about it, and they mostly live in urban blue districts already. Outside of that, pro-gun control opinion is about an inch deep. This is a classic case where poll literalism leads you completely astray. Without measuring intensity of feeling, that 90 percent number is meaningless.“

That's why Democrats stopped campaigning on the gun control issue last decade: it wasn't winning them anything. In fact, the issue was hurting their chances of election in more conservative districts by repeatedly painting candidates as whiny liberals.

Good idea or not, NRA lobbying or not, I think Kevin put his finger right on the problem for gun control legislation: insufficient numbers care about it enough to contact legislators, elect those candidates who agree, and send home those who don't.

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