Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced yesterday that Assault Weapons Ban, a pet measure of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) doesn’t have enough votes to pass and wouldn’t be included in the measures that will be brought to the floor of the chamber next month:
Senior Senate Democrats bluntly acknowledged Tuesday that a proposed federal ban on assault weapons will not become law, bowing to the political calculus that only lesser gun control measures stand a chance of passing Congress, despite three months of emotional national debate since the Connecticut school massacre.
In separate remarks to reporters, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., both said they do not see Feinstein’s far-reaching proposal on assault weapons passing the Senate, let alone the Republican-led House, where opposition to the measure is even stronger.
Feinstein will apparently offer the bill as an amendment to other measures that will be brought forward in the Senate, but she refused to admit that she’s lost this fight. Maybe she should. According to Roll Call, Reid said, “Right now, her amendment — using the most optimistic numbers— has less than 40 votes. That’s not 60.” Additionally, Politico reports that the universal background check measure may also be in jeopardy.
While the Obama Administration making the claim that it has the power to use drones inside the United States to target and eliminate potential threats, a Fox News poll released on Monday shows that Americans are not at all comfortable with this prospect:
The poll finds that 32 percent of voters think that yes, the president should be able to authorize the use of deadly force domestically against an American terrorist. Still, about twice that many — 63 percent — disagree and want checks on the president.
Again, agreement is bipartisan, as most Republicans (70 percent) and independents (70 percent) and a majority of Democrats (54 percent) oppose the president having the sole power under these conditions.
There were actually two different questions in regard to President Obama and drone strikes, one of which was a general question about the policy. The other was a more specific question about giving the power to determine who should be target to the president.
Here are the two questions:
- Do you approve or disapprove of the United States using unmanned aircraft called drones to kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?
- Do you think the president of the United States, on his own, should be able to authorize the use of deadly force, such as a drone strike, to kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?
On the first question, the divide wasn’t that wide. According the poll, 45% — including 44% of Democrats and 47% of Republicans — approve of using drones to kill an American citizen suspected terrorism inside the United States. Only 50% disapprove.
Not only does the White House have to deal with a recently released draft statement from the State Department finding that the Keystone XL pipeline poses no real environmental threat, a new poll out today shows that 70% of Americans are behind the project:
A new Fox News poll shows support for the project has reached a new high, with 70 percent supporting its construction and 23 percent opposing it. That 70 percent support figure is up from 67 percent a year ago. Other polls at the time showed slightly lower levels of support, though still huge majorities in favor.
The increase appears to be due to a rise in support among Democrats, who now support it with a clear majority — 57 percent.
Aaron Blake of the Washington Post notes that Obama’s climate change agenda — an issue that he discussed during both his inaugural address and the State of the Union — could be an indictation that Keystone and the thousands of jobs that could be created face an ominous future.
Oh look, as ObamaCare becomes more and more of a reality to Americans, the more they don’t like it. According to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, support for ObamaCare has dropped once again — including a 15-point drop amongst Democrats:
Democratic support for President Obama’s healthcare law has dropped 15 points since November, contributing to a rise in negative attitudes toward the reform, according to a new poll.
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act currently outnumber supporters (42 percent to 36), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest tracking survey. Public opinion has switched back and forth since the law passed in 2010, and in November, support for the law was 4 percent higher than opposition (43 percent to 39).
Kaiser attributed the marked slide in support among Democrats to a “post-presidential election fade.” In November, 72 percent of that group expressed support for the law, compared with 57 percent who feel favorably toward it now.
Unaffiliated voters saw a similar but less dramatic decline in support, with 32 percent approving of the healthcare law compared with 37 percent in November.
EVERYBODY PANIC!!! Well, not really. Today should be just another day. But unfortunately, the rhetoric over the sequester — $44 billion in spending cuts in the current fiscal year (not the $85 billion that has been reported) — has been pushed into overdrive. Who would’ve thought that a 1% cut in the rate of spending increases would cause this much fuss? It’s not even a real budget cut, when it all comes down to it.
While President Obama is depending on the American public to side with him on forgoing the sequester, polls don’t seem to bear that out, according to Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan at the Washington Post:
In Washington, Republicans and Democrats have been at loggerheads over how best to avert sequestration. In the rest of the country, a remarkably high percentage of Americans take a different view: Bring it on.
Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they would tell their member of Congress to let the deep federal spending cuts known as sequestration go into effect as scheduled, according to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday, while nearly one in five had no opinion. A plurality (45 percent) said they would like to see Congress pass a measure to avert the cuts, but that’s hardly a decisive figure that reflects the alarm bells the Obama administration has been sounding the last couple of weeks.
While the White House is touting support in the polls for its gun control proposal, including renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, Jacob Sullum notes a new poll conducted by Reason-Rupe that shows that Americans don’t really know what an “assault weapons” is:
A Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey conducted this month suggests such misconceptions are common. After asking the 1,000 respondents if they thought people should be “prohibited from owning assault weapons,” the survey (which is sponsored by my employer, the Reason Foundation) asked half of the sample to “describe an assault weapon.” The answers are illuminating.
About two-thirds of the respondents described “assault weapons” as guns that fire rapidly, guns that can fire a large number of rounds without reloading, guns with a lot of “power,” or guns used by the military. More than a quarter described them as “machine guns,” “automatics,” or the equivalent (e.g., “multiple rounds with just one pull of the trigger”).
Overall support for banning “assault weapons” was only 44 percent, considerably lower than the 60 percent or so in recent Gallup and ABC News polls. But there was majority support—53 percent and 59 percent, respectively—among people whose descriptions of “assault weapons” emphasized rate of fire (including those who mistakenly described them as machine guns) or ammunition capacity.
After the last assault weapon ban was passed, the Democrats suffered a complete blood bath in Congress during the midterm elections that year. Why? Simple. Most Americans didn’t like the of Uncle Sam telling them they couldn’t have certain kinds of weapons apparently.
Well, it looks like that’s still the case:
A slight majority of Americans do not want assault weapons banned in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting, though a clear majority said they support stricter gun laws in general, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll out Wednesday.
Specifically on an assault weapons ban, 51 percent of respondents were against the measure, while 44 percent said they support it, the poll said. That remains largely unchanged from an October 2011 poll that had 43 percent for and 51 percent against a ban.
This comes as more Americans say they want stricter gun control in general.
Now, it must be pointed out that 51 percent isn’t a huge margin, but this is also in the aftermath of Sandy Hook when people are more likely to be reactionary about the issue. Expect the numbers to reach higher as people begin to calm down from the tragedy.
While the media has been focusing on polls that show increased support for gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, the latest from Gallup shows that more Americans believe that a school official having a gun would be more effective at preventing these tragedies than banning so-called “assault weapons”:
Americans are most likely to say that an increased police presence at schools, increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment, and decreased depiction of gun violence in entertainment venues would be effective in preventing mass shootings at schools. Americans rate the potential effectiveness of a ban on assault and semi-automatic guns as fourth on a list of six actions Gallup asked about.
During a press conference yesterday at the White House, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a commission, headed by Vice President Joe Biden, that would address the “epidemic of gun violence.” President Obama said that the commission would “come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January, which he “intend[s] to push without delay.”
Among the major talking points from President Barack Obama and Democrats that are often repeated in the media has been that the public agrees with his calls for higher taxes on the wealthy as part of any “fiscal cliff” deal.
In their story on a new poll conducted with George Washington University, Politico ran with the headline, “Battleground Poll: Hike taxes on rich.” The poll showed that “60 percent of respondents support raising taxes on households that earn more than $250,000 a year and 64 percent want to raise taxes on large corporations.” Again, not surprising. It fits the narrative that we’ve constantly heard, even though it’s a myth.
But buried deep inside the story — seven paragraphs down — was this gem:
According to the poll — taken from from Dec. 2 to Dec. 6 — 69 percent of respondents oppose raising taxes on small businesses that earn more than $250,000 — a group that the GOP is trying to protect with its push to extend the Bush tax cuts.
Republicans have argued thoughout the course of the “fiscal cliff” negoitiations that they want to protect small businesses — entities employing less than 500 people — in a “fiscal cliff” deal. They’re getting hammered by the White House and Democrats for not wanting to raise taxes, but here is their affirmation on the issue as nearly 70% of respondents agree with the GOP’s position. The headline should have been “Battleground Poll: Don’t raise taxes on small businesses” or something along similar lines.
There is no question that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has an important decision to make in who will succeed and finish the remainder of Jim DeMint’s term. However, there is an aspect to the appointment that hasn’t gotten much, if any, attention.
In 2010, Haley rode the Tea Party wave all the way to Columbia. Early on in her campaign, Erick Erickson wrote that Haley “gets checks in all the major boxes: life, tax cutting, government cutting, honesty, and uncompromising on the need to reform.”
“She is not afraid, even as an elected official, to criticize her own party for losing its way. That’s the type of candidate the Republicans need,” he added.
Unfortunately, Haley’s record in office has been disappointing. In her first year, Haley proposed the largest spending increase in state history (including federal funds). In its biannual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors, which grades state executives on spending and taxes, the Cato Institute noted that Haley oversaw an 11% spending increase in just two fiscal years.