Not the first poll this week to show Republicans suddenly ahead of The One on guns, either. The latest NYT/CBS poll had them up 44/41 when respondents were asked who they trusted more to make the right decisions on gun control.
Those numbers were significant because they showed a reversal in public opinion. Here’s Pew’s data, which, interestingly, shows no real reversal. (The difference between O and the GOP has been, and remains, within the margin of error.) Is that more or less significant than the Times’s numbers?
The needle’s bounced around over the last few years on immigration, but on gun control it’s steady as she goes — even at the height of Obama’s post-Newtown push for new regulations. How do you square that with the consistently heavy support for background checks in polling? My theory in last week’s post was that while the public likes the idea of a relatively minor new regulation like expanding checks, it’s very leery of O and his fellow Democrats launching some sort of broader crackdown on guns. In fact, here’s the most interesting data point from Pew’s numbers:
In all three cases, there are more Democrats who say Republicans can do a better job than Obama than there are Republicans who say O can do a better job than the GOP. That’s not entirely surprising — some Dems are naturally fatigued by economic sluggishness and wary of a glut of blue-collar labor from illegals, and rank-and-file Republicans are generally allergic to O’s policies across the board. The gun numbers are interesting, though, simply because they confound the media narrative about the public rallying to Democrats over GOP opposition in the Senate to background checks. Watch “Morning Joe” any day of the week and it’s a safe bet you’ll get a lecture on how Republicans are sabotaging themselves in 2014 by alienating the centrists in their own ranks on guns. If Pew’s numbers are right, it’s actually Democrats who have more to fear from alienating the pro-gun centrists in their own ranks and among independents. That sound you hear is Mark Pryor exhaling.