WHAT IF SOME POLLS ARE WRONG AND HIGHLY RESTRICTIVE GUN CONTROL PROPOSALS (AND THOSE PROPOSING THEM) ARE NOT POPULAR WITH VOTERS? BOTH PRESIDENT OBAMA AND GOVERNOR CUOMO ARE FINDING LACKLUSTER/WANING SUPPORT FOR THEIR RECENT ACTIONS.
The Media and the gun control lobby would have you believe that the entire country is clamoring for the most stringent of the restrictions on gun owners.
Often, these assertions are "supported" using Media-based "polls" where a plurality of those asked very generic questions about their feelings about "gun control"(often with "common sense" injected into the question) show some support. However, any polls that goes beneath the surface of such a simplistic question, show very different results with more supporting gun ownership and supporting other changes (background checks, mental health screens, etc.)
BUT WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO CALL FOR GREATER GUN RESTRICTIONS? IT IS EARLY, BUT LET'S JUST SAY THE RESULTS SUGGEST A PUBLIC LOOKING UNFAVORABLY ON THOSE CALLING FOR THE GREATEST RESTRICTIONS.
For example, fresh from Gallup yesterday is a new opinion poll that shows President Obama getting very mixed reviews across a range of subjects. Specific to the subject of gun control, Gallup observes:
After the Newtown, Conn., mass school shootings in December, Obama has enacted a series of new executive actions and has proposed new legislation designed to control gun violence. He has also deputized Vice President Joe Biden to focus much of his time on these gun-related efforts. Still, the president at this point receives a relatively modest 42% job approval rating on handling gun policy, well below his overall average certainly not at the top of the list of current issues measured.
Gallup reports that while 42% of those polled (generic "adults" which skews more liberal than polls of "registered voters"), a full 54% disapprove. (see table attached)
But what is more interesting is the breakdown of responses by political party identification. On gun policy, the percentage that approve with the President's gun policies are (see attached table):
While neither the result for the Dems nor the GOP is not surprising, it is very interesting to see that 63% of Independents disapprove of the President's gun policies. As the key voting block nationally, this has to be an eye-opener for all elected officials.
CLOSER TO CONNECTICUT
While the results of a national poll can be dismissed as not reflecting "northeast values", there is something to be noted in Gov. Cuomo's approval rating collapse in the wake of the rushed passage of the NYS SAFE Act last month. As reported last month, Cuomo took a 15% hit to his overall approval rating following his provocative state of the state address and the expedited passage of the controversial SAFE Act.
According to Quinnipiac, the new gun laws are a direct cause of the drop in Cuomo's approval rating. Half of voters in households with a firearm now disapprove of the governor compared to a 68 percent approval rating among those polled in homes without a gun. His approval rating among Republicans is now at 44 percent. The gun laws go "too far" according to 59 percent of Republicans polled and 34% of all voters.
Even among independents Cuomo's approval rating dropped 16 points, from 70 to 54 percent, still enviable but a clear sign that objections to overtly stringent gun control laws are not strictly a partisan matter.
FOR CONNECTICUT ELECTED OFFICIALS
So the big question for all elected officials in Connecticut might be: "Is it different here in Connecticut?"
Are your views on future gun control legislation based on presumptions about "support" that might turn out to be false?
While CAGV/March for Change garner attention for their high profile, there are far more gun owners who are actual voters and they are watching.
I have noted it before, there are over 500,000 gun owners in Connecticut. Add in another gun-friendly voter in 20% of those households and you have 600,000 potential voters. If just 10% of this group votes with gun rights as a top priority, that is 60,000 voters. If it is 50%, that is 300,000 voters. And not all of these are nominal Republicans.
State-wide officials as well as local representatives should be mindful that gun owners are neither a monolithic ideological block nor should they be underestimated due to their relative quiet in the past weeks. We are out here, we are watching, and we will remember come the next elections.