This is one of the most mysterious questions for Democrats in American politics. Why is the political system less responsive to gun violence? Extended background checks are regularly polled with 80% or 90% or more support. Still, gun control laws are usually in trouble in Washington, and Republicans never seem to pay a political price for their opposition.
Countless explanations have been provided as to why political reality appears to be at odds with voting, including the power of the gun lobby. The importance of voters on a single issue. Oversized influence of the local state of the Senate.
But there is another possibility. It may be the coolest thing for gun control advocates. Their problems can be with voters as well as politicians and special interests.
When voters in four democratic states had the opportunity to expand and legislate gun background checks, the overwhelming support suggested by national surveys was found nowhere. Instead, the results of the initiatives and referendums in Maine, California, Washington, and Nevada were similar to those of the 2016 presidential election, down to the results of individual counties.
Hillary Clinton did better with a ballot box than an expanded background check among the same voters in the same state on almost the same day.
The usual theory for American conservative gun politics does not explain the poor show.Supporters of the initiative Exhausted Almighty Gun Lobby.. Voters of all kinds, not just voters and politicians on a single issue, spoke equally. The Senate was not a blame. Indeed, the results suggested that the referendum on background checks would have been lost. Also, the questions on all ballots were different, and the fights for each campaign were different, but the final result was almost indistinguishable.
Indeed, background checks could be more politically resonating than in 2022 or in the future, 2016.Public support for new gun restrictions Tends to rise In the wake of a mass shooting.There is evidence that there is already public support for stricter gun control Rapidly increased Again in the aftermath of the killings in Buffalo, Texas and Yuvalde. Public support for the new regulations has since tended to subside, but these or other shootings can still bring about a lasting change in public opinion.
However, the poor results of the background check suggest that public opinion may not be a clear ally of gun control that reminds us of it.
The possibility that one of the most popular policies in voting will be implemented behind Mrs. Clinton in the ballot box is an important question about the usefulness of voting, asking voters whether they support or disagree with a particular policy. To raise. These questions probably tell us something about public opinion, but they may be much less about the political situation than many would expect.
For Democrats, the story is uneasy and familiar. Progressivists have long been bolded by national survey results showing overwhelming support for their policy priorities, but they do not necessarily lead to Washington law or post-election popularity. I found out.president BidenKey policy initiatives Is popularFor example, voters still say his approval rating that he hasn’t achieved much. Sinked In the late 40s.
The apparent lack of access to the majority policy of the Democratic Party has fueled internal criticism of messaging and strategy. These arguments often assume that Democrats should work better, but they get in the way of their own popular agenda. Alternatively, progressives are afraid that conservatives (through television and social media) can use horrific tactics about socialist and demographic changes to break the link between public opinion and political consequences. ..
All of these theories may be beneficial, but the result of the referendum adds another possibility. The apparently progressive political majority in polls may be just an illusion. It may not exist solely for practical purposes. And the tendency for all ideological color referendum results to be below polls can betray the overlooked side of polls: the tendency to make mistakes towards the status quo.
Strictly speaking, it is a mistake to say that the results simply prove that the vote is “wrong.” The results of initiatives and referendums are not a complete or simple measure of public opinion. The text of the initiative is more complex than the simple national poll questions. Some voters who may support the proposal in the summary may eventually disagree with the details. The context is also very different. Voting follows a referendum campaign that can change public opinion.
And the act of voting to enact an initiative in the law brings far more responsibility and consequences than a carefree answer to a survey. In doubt, many voters may adopt the conservative position of the lowercase “c” in the ballot box. Overall, it’s not surprising that initiatives and referendums tend to fall short of voting support.
However, the difference between the voting results and the referendum results is particularly large. This is orders of magnitude greater than other issues, including other referendums in the same state on the same day on hot button topics such as raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and legalizing marijuana. All of these initiatives worked much better in Trump than background checks, even if they were expected to receive less support based on polls.
These votes have their own drawbacks. Many voters have a relatively weak view of a particular policy item. They could specifically say that they “support” the policy in their research. In this case, the “acknowledgement bias” allows respondents to agree with what they are asked to do. These attitudes can change rapidly as the problem gains lasting political attention.
Professor John Side of Vanderbilt, who studied polling in public opinion on the ballot initiative, said: “If a seemingly popular proposal is the subject of a counter-argument in a competitive campaign and voters are responsible for changing policy (as well as answering survey questions), the results will be different.”
The results of other poll questions on gun control may help explain why the arguments against background checks proved to be so sympathetic. Americans are almost evenly divided on whether gun law should be stricter.Less than half They say they are dissatisfied With national gun control, they aren’t strict enough. The public is almost evenly divided as to whether Democrats or Republicans are more reliable about guns.Even the National Rifle Association Have Was pretty popular.
The findings suggest that the majority of what appears to be for background checks tend to evaporate in the campaign. Republican voters who support gun rights can quickly be upset by appealing to more abstract, deeper concerns about this issue.
It’s not just gun control partners who benefit from this phenomenon.Healthcare reform Started as popularUntil an affordable care method is actually proposed and discussed.Carbon tax has gained widespread national support, but the environmentally friendly Washington state carbon tax initiative Lost twice Resolutely.
Liberals can also benefit. Voter identity requirements and parental notices regarding abortion have received overwhelming support in polls, but moderate and liberal voters who support abortion or voting rights have these modest initiatives to abort or abortion. You can quickly be confident that it poses a more fundamental threat to your rights. These initiatives are about as low in ballot box performance as background checks.
Still, the widespread challenge to the usefulness of problem polling is more inconvenient for progressives than for conservatives. Democrats have a broader legislative agenda than Republicans, and public voting has often given them confidence in the political wisdom of their agenda. It may not be very important if public liberalism works only in interviews with pollsters, not in ballot boxes.