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Monday, April 22, 2013

Guns and Politics

An earlier post explained why background-check legislation failed in the Senate, despite seemingly overwhelming public support.  At RealClearPolitics, Sean Trende explains why the issue probably will not hurt the GOP:
  • "It was commonplace at the beginning of the year to claim that Newtown changed everything on gun control. But the evidence for that is pretty thin. Overall, the long-term trend lines seemingly (and surprisingly) either favor opponents of gun control or show minor movement above the long-term trend, depending on how the questions are asked."
  • "On Election Day, opponents of gun control are likely to go to the polls and vote on gun control. The other side is not. This is exactly why the assault weapons ban -- which passed the Senate in 1994 -- got only 40 votes this time around."
  • "Because of the geographic concentration of Democratic voters, 250 House districts have a Republican-leaning or even partisan voting index (in other words, tend to vote more Republican than the nation as a whole)...In the Senate, the picture is even worse. Only one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, is running in a state the president carried."
  • Voters take mental shortcuts. "While most voters are unlikely to punish a senator who supports, say, background checks, such support paints a broader picture of that senator as someone who possibly backs broader gun control, or who is liberal, or who supports an administration with mediocre national approval ratings. This is a real problem for proponents, and it isn’t likely to change anytime soon."