Based on the latest Quinnipiac poll, if you had to sum up the electorate’s mood in one word, you might say “frustrated.”
American voters support stricter gun laws 66-31 percent, the highest level of support ever measured by the independent Quinnipiac University National Poll, with 50-44 percent support among gun owners and 62-35 percent support from white voters with no college degree and 58-38 percent support among white men.
Today’s result is up from a negative 47-50 percent measure of support in a December 23, 2015, survey . . . Support for universal background checks is itself almost universal, 97-2 percent, including 97-3 percent among gun owners. Support for gun control on other questions is at its highest level since the Quinnipiac University Poll began focusing on this issue in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.”
That includes support for a ban on the sale assault weapons (67 percent to 29 percent) and a mandatory waiting period (83 percent to 14 percent) for all gun purchases. Unlike the National Rifle Association, voters say that if more people had guns we’d be less safe (59 percent to 33 percent) and want Congress to do more to reduce gun violence (75 percent to 17 percent). Seventy percent of Americans correctly say that “mass killings by U.S. citizens is a bigger problem than mass killings by people from other countries.”
There will be a slew of polls, no doubt, but it is fair to say that the ground is shifting on the topic. That provides an unusual opportunity for those seeking new gun safety laws. If Republicans are the party of status quo, the party that says there is nothing to be done, the voters may not react well.
Voters want action on the “dreamers” as well, according to the poll. They don’t buy President Trump’s specious claim that Democrats are the roadblock:
American voters support 80-16 percent allowing undocumented children brought to the U.S. as children, so-called “Dreamers,” to remain and eventually apply for citizenship. Every listed group supports Dreamers by wide margins.
Voters think 63-27 percent that Trump wants Dreamers to be deported. Only Republicans think Trump wants Dreamers to remain. And voters think 55 – 32 percent that Republicans in Congress want Dreamers deported. Again, only Republicans think their leaders want Dreamers to remain.
Voters think 85 – 8 percent that Democrats in Congress want Dreamers to stay.
And finally, contrary to some polls showing the generic poll gap narrowing, this one shows “American voters say 53-38 percent, including 47-36 percent among independent voters, [that] they want the Democratic Party to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives this year. Voters say 54-39 percent, including 51-38 percent among independent voters, [that] they want the Democrats to win control of the U.S. Senate this year.”
Oh, and Trump’s parade gets a strong thumbs down from 61 percent of those polled, while only 26 percent approved of the idea. Additionally, “voters say 75-18 percent, including 52-37 percent among Republicans, that the estimated $10 million to $30 million to pay for the parade is not a good use of government funds.”
One can look at guns and dreamers as discrete issues, but they can also be seen as issues on which Democrats want to change the status quo, while Republicans would prefer a logjam. The GOP is a prisoner to its anti-immigrant base and to the NRA, both of which would love for nothing to be done on their respective issues. Democrats not only have substantive support for legalizing dreamers and toughening gun laws, but they can make the case that the GOP is thwarting the will of the people and is beholden to special interests. That is a dangerous position for Trump — who promised to shake things up — and his party to be in. By contrast, Democrats need to impress upon voters that they are the problem-solvers and have responsible, concrete solutions. In a midterm election, when the party out of office can capitalize on the White House’s failure to live up to expectations, Democrats have reason to be encouraged.
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