Gun Control Is Popular Among Republicans, Just Ixnay on the Obama-ay

by evanmcmurry

Today’s ABC News/WaPo poll finds the public supports the new gun control policies being pushed by the administration by twelve points, even when Despot in Chief Obama’s name is included in the question. (Even Lisa Simpson backed down when Homer invoked King George.)*

Obviously policy should never be based on polling, but from a political standpoint, this is good news for gun control advocates. The common trope in gun control is that gun rights advocates gun nutcases care far more passionately about keeping their guns than civil society cares about regulating them; hence why the NRA, like the pro-life lobby, is successful at getting legislation passed despite the fact that their positions don’t actually enjoy widespread support.

However, the enthusiasm gap is narrowing thanks to Aurora and Newtown and fifteen other mass shootings now occurring frequently to count, but more to the point, the gap is a double-edged sword. The more gun rights advocates gun nutcases feel they’re having to scream “Tyranny!!!!” at a complacent majority, the more they’re going to come off like this. It’s not the actual polling that matters; it’s the effect marginalization has on the rhetoric of the gun lobby and their supporters. In short, it drives them insane, at which point they do more harm than good to their own cause.

* As the Post rather gleefully points out, a poll taken just before Obama’s announcement found that Republicans actually favor most modest gun control measures by overwhelming margins; 89% supported background checks. In fact, the only proposal that they didn’t favor was a ban on semi-automatic handguns, and even that got 40%.

Two weeks later: only 27% of Republicans support Obama’s gun control legislation, which is made up of the exact policies they were in favor of fourteen days ago. The Post all but says Republicans would support these policies if anybody but Obama were proposing them.