The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

USA Today Poll: Support for New Gun-Control Law ‘Ebbing’


The Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt features a look at some utterly inappropriate responses to the Boston bombing, some polling news that probably depressed the folks at the Huffington Post, a graphic for those who don’t want the immigration bill rushed, and then this intriguing new poll result:

Organizing for Action’s Big Talk on Another Gun-Control Vote

After the defeat of the Toomey-Manchin compromise, you’re hearing a lot of gun-control advocates left in a combination of sputtering disbelief and rage. Midday Monday, Organizing for Action — formerly Obama for America — sent out a message that mentioned the “90 percent of Americans support this” statistic twice, concluding, “90 percent of this country is on our side, not theirs. If we all step up, we will be heard. And we will win the next vote.”

So they think there’s going to be another gun vote sometime soon. Say, as we get closer to Election Day 2014, does this vote get easier or harder for red-state Democrats? Do Kay Hagan in North Carolina and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana stay on board? Or do they feel even greater pressure to put daylight between themselves and, say, Mike Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns?

Of course, if you want to pass something like Toomey-Manchin, you have to persuade Democratic senators Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas to switch sides and support the proposal. And in the end, the oft-cited “90 percent” figure clearly doesn’t matter that much to them. A more interesting question is, how do Montanans, Alaskans, North Dakotans, and Arkansans feel? Judging by the votes of those four, the provisions of the Toomey-Manchin proposal weren’t such a slam dunk.

Now USA Today offers a number that demonstrates the wording of the question matters a great deal:

Four months after the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a USA TODAY Poll finds support for a new gun-control law ebbing as prospects for passage on Capitol Hill seem to fade.

Americans are more narrowly divided on the issue than in recent months, and backing for a bill has slipped below 50%, the poll finds. By 49%-45%, those surveyed favor Congress passing a new gun-control law. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll in early April, 55% had backed a stricter gun law, which was down from 61% in February.

The survey of 1,002 adults was taken Thursday through Sunday by Princeton Survey Research. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

Clip and save the big talk from Organizing for Action, by the way. Because after the 2014 Senate primaries are done, when the Democrats’ hopes of retaining the Senate hang on Baucus, Begich and Pryor . . . let’s see how important this vote really is to them. Let’s see if Organizing for Action really is willing to leave these senators alone because of this issue, when they’re neck-and-neck with Republican challengers.

Maybe they’ll prove me wrong. But I’ll bet that as we approach November 2014, Organizing for Action will be sending out a very different message — about how Baucus, Begich and Pryor must be reelected for the sake of the president’s agenda in the next two years.

Tags: Gun Control , Polling , Organizing for Action


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