Pew Research Center
President Obama loves to point to a poll that said 90 percent of all Americans wanted tougher background checks. After the measure failed in the Senate, Obama wanted that 90 percent to let Congress know how they felt.
But a new Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll suggests that post-vote attitudes stray from the wide support for the background check measure before the debate, which hovered around 85% in multiple polls.
A plurality of Americans–47%–say they are either “angry” or “disappointed” with the Senate’s action on gun legislation, far different from the amount of people who strongly approved the proposal before the vote. Meanwhile, 39% say they are “relieved” or “happy” about the vote.
I always thought those earlier numbers were soft, and they were.
You see, one of the issues has always been that many polls don’t really capture how committed to something a respondent really is. Someone may support the idea of tougher background checks, but how important is really is to them.
As Barack Obama begins his second term in office, trust in the federal government remains mired near a historic low, while frustration with government remains high. And for the first time, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree.
In March 2010, opinions were divided over whether the government represented a threat to personal freedom; 47% said it did while 50% disagreed. In surveys between 1995 and 2003, majorities rejected the idea that the government threatened people’s rights and freedoms.
The growing view that the federal government threatens personal rights and freedoms has been led by conservative Republicans. Currently 76% of conservative Republicans say that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms and 54% describe the government as a “major” threat. Three years ago, 62% of conservative Republicans said the government was a threat to their freedom; 47% said it was a major threat.
Interesting results from a Pew Research survey:
More than four-in-ten independents (44%) react positively to the word “libertarian,” while 32% have a negative reaction. Democrats are nearly evenly divided (39% positive, 37% negative). However, Republicans on balance have a negative impression of this term (44% negative, 31% positive).
In many ways we’re actually competition for Republicans and try to hold them to their principles and slam them when they don’t live up to them. But Republicans don’t like us on the social side of things
Commentators, from the left, of course, draw other conclusions:
The notion that Republicans are libertarian is ludicrous. They stick their noses into our bedrooms, into our doctors’ offices, into churches. They demand the roundup of people who don’t look like them. They whine about Miranda rights and due process. They are more concerned about the rights of big energy conglomerates, than they are about the rights of people to enjoy long walks on pristine beaches. They whine about true independent and free media that doesn’t validate their ideology. They freak out about anyone who doesn’t believe in their god, or worse, in any god at all.
For the American Taliban, “liberty” means their ability to impose their beliefs and lifestyle on the rest of society.
Vice President Joe Biden has telegraphed his plan to make another push for new gun control laws and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is still pushing to gain support for his completely pointless background check proposal. But the public has other priorities. According to a recent Gallup poll, 86% of Americans rank job creation and the economy as their top priorities:
A new Gallup poll released Wednesday finds 86 percent of voters saying Congress should make its top focus job creation, with 86 percent saying Congress should prioritize work on improving the economy.
Those two issues are the top concerns for voters, with gun violence and an overhaul of the nation’s immigration reform laws at the bottom of the list of 12 priorities.
Only 55 percent of those surveyed said reducing gun violence should be a top priority, and a similar 50 percent said that Congress should focus on immigration reform.
Shhhhhh. Don’t tell the gun control crowd, but their biggest argument for enacting more stringent restrictions on firearms just went down in flames.
For months they’ve been telling Americans that expanded background checks and the Assault Weapons Ban were needed to prevent gun violence. Shortly after his gun control measures failed in the Senate, President Barack Obama lashed out at those who voted against the proposal, calling it a “shameful day in Washington.” He said the measures were needed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and to prevent instances of gun violence.
But what if gun violence is already on a downward trend? According to new numbers from Pew Research, the gun homicide rate has dropped by 49% since its peak in 1993 and non-fatal gun violence has dropped by 75% over the same length of time:
Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.
The White House is eventually going to have to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline. There have been mixed signals sent by President Obama. He’s told Republicans in Congress that he’s considering it, but his tough talk on combating climate change could pose a perilous future for the project.
While President Obama is still making up his mind on what should be a no-brainer, Pew Research released a new poll yesterday finding overwhelming support from Americans for Keystone XL:
As the Obama administration approaches a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a national survey finds broad public support for the project. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor building the pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada’s oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas. Just 23% oppose construction of the pipeline.
Support for the pipeline spans most demographic and partisan groups. Substantial majorities of Republicans (82%) and independents (70%) favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, as do 54% of Democrats. But there is a division among Democrats: 60% of the party’s conservatives and moderates support building the pipeline, compared with just 42% of liberal Democrats.
Over the last few months, President Barack Obama and candidates seeking the GOP nomination got off on the trail of social issues. Republicans actually hurt themselves on the contraceptive rule imposed by the Obama Administration, which allowed Democrats to begin using the “war on women” meme that dominated the news cycle for a couple of weeks.
More recently, Obama endorsed gay marriage at the state-level in an interview on Good Morning America after “evolving” on the issue over the last few years. While many may have viewed this as Obama finally coming around, it was more of a political move that his campaign team hoped would get Republicans off message. Oddly enough, they didn’t bite. Perhaps more surprisingly, voters didn’t either, despite support for same-sex marriage recently hitt an all-time high.
But Friday’s jobs report sent a reminder that the economy is still moving along at a snail’s pace. Even though some 69,000 jobs were created in May, that’s still nowhere near the 120,000 to 150,000 needed to just keep up with population growth. And with that, perhaps its time for a reminder of what Pew Research reported back in April, that economic issues are at the top of Americans’ concerns, well ahead of social issues:
While surfing the web this weekend after getting from home BlogConCLT, I came across this story at The Daily Caller, claiming that a new poll from Pew Research shows that Republicans are more open-minded and more informed than Democrats:
Yet another new survey shows that Republican supporters know more about politics and political history than Democrats.
On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”
The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.
“Republicans fare substantially better than Democrats on several questions in the survey, as is typically the case in surveys about political knowledge,” said the study, which noted that Democrats outscored Republicans on five questions by an average of 4.6 percent.
The widest partisan gap in the survey came in at 30 points when only 46 percent of Democrats — but 76 percent of Republicans —- correctly described the GOP as “the party generally more supportive of reducing the size of federal government.”
I spent the weekend in Charlotte chatting with some great people, however, I also heard several people making fun of libertarians and cracking jokes about how Barack Obama, as a small child, once tried dog meat — as if that is going to matter to voters in the fall. So I’m inclined to chuckle at the notion that Republicans are “open-minded.”
David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, is firing back at Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other neo-conservatives that are criticizing some Republicans presidential candidates for what they call “isolationist” views:
A new poll from the Washington Post and Pew Research shows that Americans worry more about Congress increasing the debt ceiling than defaulting on debt payments:
[W]hen pressed to name their biggest concern, nearly half of respondents say they are alarmed by the prospect that the debt could grow beyond its current limit of $14.3 trillion, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. Only 35 percent say they are more worried about the risk of default and economic destabilization if Congress does not raise the debt limit.
Among those who believe they are well-informed, 52 percent say they worry more about Congress raising the limit and permitting additional borrowing. By comparison, 37 percent worry more about the possibility of default. Those who consider themselves less well-informed are more evenly split, with 45 percent more worried about borrowing and 34 percent more concerned about default.
The poll also notes that independent voters, which strongly rejected Democrats in last year’s mid-term election, are mostly siding with Republicans over Democrats:
Independents — crucial to the reelection prospects of as many as a dozen Senate Democrats, as well as President Obama — tend to side with Republicans. Among independents, 49 percent say they worry more about additional debt, while 34 percent say their bigger fear is the risk of default.
And even Bill Clinton isn’t buying the predictions of armageddon that Tim Geither and other Democrats would have us believe, as Dave Weigel notes: