Run away, red-state Democratic incumbents. Run away.
Actually, he’s been underwater on guns since January, when another CNN poll showed him at 46/49. Today? 45/52. Despite three months of increasingly shrill messaging about how people who disagree with him on this issue are basically pro-murder, he’s lost a little ground.
The key number in any poll like this is how much a president’s own base is driving down his numbers because, contra his opponents who think he’s gone too far, they think he hasn’t gone far enough. Here you’ve got 23 percent of liberals (albeit with a large margin of error) disapproving of O’s handling of gun policy, which surprises me. I could understand objecting if he had sat back and done nothing to help Senate Democrats move a bill through, but he’s rarely been louder on an issue than he’s been on this lately. Unless there’s a core group of liberals who object to expanding background checks or banning assault weapons on civil-liberties grounds, which I doubt, then presumably they’re disgruntled because he hasn’t asked for a comprehensive ban on handguns generally or semiautomatics specifically. That’s … really stupid given the political realities that O’s facing, but all presidents have to deal with partisans on their own side who disapprove of them as a squish and a sellout no matter how far they’re reaching. Case in point, compare the numbers for liberals on how Obama’s handling immigration:
Almost identical. Liberal disgruntlement is more understandable here since O has sat back on immigration — for strategic reasons, so as not to upset the Gang of Eight’s work — and has made vague noises about improving border security, but the odds of legalizing 11 million illegals have never been better than they are right now. You’d think open-borders fans would give him some credit. In fact, if you scroll through CNN’s crosstabs, you’ll find 20-30 percent disapproval among liberals of O’s handling of any issue, including his policy on gays and lesbians. I’d love to know what more they want him to do there. He endorsed gay marriage publicly, triggering a tidal wave among Senate Democrats, and is trying to get DOMA declared unconstitutional. He’s even given up on his phony federalism approach to SSM. What more do the liberal holdouts want? Mandatory gay marriage?
Anyway. Even if you include the far-left grumblers as supporting the gun-control measures that O’s pushed thus far, he’s still only at about 50/50 nationally on gun policy. Think Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, and other Blue Dogs facing reelection next fall will find comfort in that? Mike Bloomberg’s gun-control group is going to start assigning letter grades, a la the NRA, to recalcitrant lawmakers, but I can’t quite believe that’ll make a key difference if a post-reelection Obama bellowing daily about the monsters who oppose his agenda after a horrendous school shooting isn’t moving the dial. Via the Weekly Standard, watch below for his latest bon mot in case you missed it last night. He’d better be working hard on immigration behind the scenes, because if that ends up going down the tubes along with his gun program, there’ll be almost nothing left of his second term on domestic policy. I’ll leave you with this from Conn Carroll, explaining why few gun-rights supporters are inclined to trust Obama and his allies:
Since the current gun control proposals would do nothing to stop mass shootings, even if Obama’s gun control bill became law, more are bound to happen. And the deaths in those events will be no more or less tragic than the deaths at Columbine, Aurora, or Sandy Hook. The emotional appeal for “more” gun control will be the exact same. Anti-gun activists would just use those future tragedies to justify further gun restrictions. The logic of doing “just one thing” so a father does not have “to bury his child” simply has no end.