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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

No Future for GOP on Gun Issue

An interesting tidbit from The Hill, on a new poll about gun control and partisanship:

A new poll released Tuesday finds the nation evenly split on whether they trust President Obama or GOP lawmakers more on the contentious issue of gun control.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 42 percent say they trust President Obama on the issue, while 41 percent say they trust Republicans in Congress, many of whom have been skeptical of new gun-control measures.

But the poll also reveals a split between those who are gun owners and those who are not. Respondents who live in gun-owning households trust Republicans more by a 56 to 26 percent split, while those who do not own firearms trust the president over the GOP by 58 to 26 percent.

If there's one thing no one wants to hear in our overly-partisan times, it's the term "evenly split." I suppose, taken at face value, Republicans have more to gain from inaction, since the status quo is what they prefer on gun regulations. But take them aside and make them tell the truth somehow and they'll tell you that "evenly split" in this case means "about to become the minority."


Yesterday, I reported on a study that showed gun ownership has been in steady decline for decades. Where gun owning households were 50% in the '70s, they're now just 35%. If gun owning households trust Republicans in the gun debate, the party can't count on that level of support to last. They're already dancing on the razor's edge, with most of those saying they trust them obviously unaware of the party's positions. A landslide 57% say they support an assault weapons ban and a jawdropping 91% support expanded background checks.

Meanwhile, another poll shows Republicans losing a crucial demographic on the issue.

Los Angeles Times:

A strong majority of Latino voters — Democrats, Republicans and independents — supports stiffer gun control laws, including more vigorous background checks and creation of a national database of gun owners, according to a new survey of that increasingly important slice of the electorate.

The poll suggests Latinos tend to lean leftward in the gun debate regardless of political affiliation, which could further complicate GOP efforts to boost Latino support after November's poor showing.

"Latino voters are saying with a strong voice we want some new and smart gun policies taken up by the Congress," said Matt Barreto, a University of Washington political science professor and co-founder of Latino Decisions, the firm that conducted the nationwide survey.

84% support expanded background checks and 54% support a ban on assault weapons. Beltway pundits and Republican Party flacks will be shocked to learn that Latino voters are as complicated as anyone else and that immigration isn't the one and only issue they care about.

The Republicans' story on guns is a familiar one -- America's changing demographics doom them. Little tweaks to the party's positions aren't going to save them in the long run. They need big changes to keep from being the party of yesterday's opinion. But big changes seem to be beyond them at the moment.

The trends on guns is the trend on any issue: shifting demographics spelling future electoral doom. No wonder they feel the need to steal elections. Otherwise, the GOP elephant goes the way of the wooly mammoth.


[photo via swanksalot]

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