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Friday, October 23, 2015

Gun Ban Lobby Write NRA Post Mortem While Americans Show Strong Support

From a Washington Post opinion piece by anti-gun professor Adam Winkler, to Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun online mouth piece The Trace, the story this week was how the NRA is falling, or will fall.  At the same time, a new Gallup Poll shows Americans strongly approve of the NRA.

Let's first look at that Winkler piece.  He writes that the numbers aren't in favor of long term strength for the NRA:
Support for, and opposition to, gun control is closely associated with several demographic characteristics, including race, level of education and whether one lives in a city. Nearly all are trending forcefully against the NRA.

The core of the NRA's support comes from white, rural and relatively less educated voters. This demographic is currently influential in politics but clearly on the wane. While the decline of white, rural, less educated Americans is generally well known, less often recognized is what this means for gun legislation. 
Polls show that whites tend to favor gun rights over gun control by a significant margin (57 percent to 40 percent). Yet whites, who comprise 63 percent of the population today, won't be in the majority for long. Racial minorities are soon to be a majority, and they are the nation's strongest supporters of strict gun laws.
He goes on to point to the large number of Blacks and Latinos (the fastest growing minority according to Winkler) say gun control is more important that gun rights.  What he doesn't say is while support for Second Amendment rights among minorities lags behind whites, the percentage of minorities who support gun rights is higher now than it was 20 years ago.

Next let's look at two pieces that appeared this week in The TraceOne targets NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, trying to make the case that the silence of the NRA after the rash of recent mass shootings shows that the NRA is losing its place as the preeminent gun rights group it once was:
Something has changed this year. In terms of speaking to a broader American audience, the organization that also calls itself “a major political force” and “America’s foremost defender of Second Amendment rights” has been uncharacteristically silent. Its absence from the stage raises real questions about the organization’s identity and potency. What is the National Rifle Association’s place in American culture and politics, if it no longer bothers to address or define a national event like this?
The Trace posits that because the NRA finds itself challenged for money and power by groups like the Gun Owners of America and the fringe National Association for Gun Rights, and because these groups are quick to point out when they think the NRA is not sufficiently pro-rights, "keeping your mouth shut has a way of being the obvious move."

Today, The Trace followed up that article with one that kind of mimics Winkler's, arguing that the NRA is hemmed in by demographic changes in the country:
As LaPierre and company gloated over the Democrats’ loss of working class and rural white voters being the NRA’s gain, however, they may have confined themselves to a demographically losing position in presidential elections. With a constituency that is solidly whiter, older, and lives in parts of the country that are losing population, the group needs a way to grow its base. But since Democrats’ Bush-era nadir, the party has regrouped around a coalition strategy focused on urbanites and minorities that has largely offset its declining support among rural whites, at least in White House contests. An electoral strategy dependent on motivating rural white voters fell short for Republicans in 2008 and 2012, when minorities in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania grew faster as a share of turnout than as a share of the total population. It’s the same political strategy the NRA seems to be pursuing now, as the group plays up the differences between Democratic candidates and their own values. Last Friday, the NRA made sure to ring alarm bells when Hillary Clinton dared to discuss an Australia-style mandatory gun buyback program during a New Hampshire campaign stop.
And, just as Bloomberg dumps over $2 million in to Virginia Senate races, The Trace picks up the meme of knocking off the NRA in the organization's home state, pointing to the oft repeated talking point (but not proven) that running against the NRA in 2013 is why Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herrin won.  What doesn't square with this is the fact that 67 out of 68 NRA endorsed House of Delegates candidates won in 2013 and two anti-gun candidates that the gun ban lobby invested in heavily lost, even in the more gun control friendly northern Virginia.

But the biggest push back against this meme is a just released Gallup Poll that shows strong approval for the NRA among Americans - 58%.  In fact, according to NPR, the survey released Thursday included "the highest recording of 'very favorable' opinions (26%) since Gallup began asking this question in 1989."

The bottom line according to Gallup:
The gun safety organization has been a political advocate for gun rights, lobbying on behalf of particular legislative bills and candidates who support the Second Amendment nationwide, while lobbying against most restrictions on gun ownership. It has also stoked controversy by suggesting that more Americans should be armed in public places, and that guns are not to blame for mass shootings. In short, they believe that gun rights generally should not be restricted. Gallup's survey shows that, even after shootings nationwide, Americans overall still have a favorable opinion of the NRA, as they typically have, suggesting that the public may not be specifically blaming the organization for the crimes of those who commit mass shootings.

While not totally discrediting that changing demographics pose challenges (something by the way that the NRA is addressing with commentators like Colion Noir and Gabby Franco as part of the NRANews team) the fact that almost 60% of the public view the NRA favorably indicates that running solely against the NRA is not a winning political strategy.

1 comment:

Gunner Jacky said...

Guns in US has always been a topic for debate and these gun killings had made it a hotter topic for discussion.Guns are supposed to be used for safety of oneself and others but the cases of massacres had has changed the scene and shown the actual reality of keeping guns and easy availability of that killer. Out there in Us it is very easy to get the license by simply joining the Firearms safety training classes and become eligible to get gun of your own choice.Spreading awareness regarding this issue and making them understand the moral duties regarding gun keeping may help us all to fight with this issue up-to some extent..