54% of Americans have favorable view of the NRA.
The NRA has a higher approval rating than the president because it's in sync with Americans' beliefs.
Ever since the Sandy Hook shootings, we've been hearing that now, at last, it's time for the National Rifle Association to drop its "extremist" views and accept the sort of gun control that Democrats — and their allies in the press — were pushing long before Sandy Hook. When NRA Executive Vice President Wayne La Pierre proposed armed guards in schools, it was portrayed as evidence of how out-of-touch the organization was. Democratic pundits called on Obama to crush the NRA while it was on the ropes — when they weren't calling for its members and officers to be killed.
Whose idea was it anyway?
But then a funny thing happened. After the NRA school-guard strategy was roundly denounced as outright crazy by the pundits, — the editors of the New York Times called it "delusional, almost deranged" — President Obama came out with ... a proposal for armed guards in schools. It is no small feat for an out-of-touch, on-the-ropes organization to get the president to basically endorse its signature policy proposal at a time of national debate.
But, then again, it turned out that 55% of Americans supported the NRA proposal. Turns out, it was the people calling it crazy — like the editors of the New York Times — who were out of the mainstream.
Meanwhile, pundits denounced gun-rights activists who said that the right to bear arms is in part a protection against government tyranny. Only a crazed militia type could possibly believe that, right? Except that — go figure — 65% of Americans see gun rights as a protection against tyranny. And only 17% say they disagree. Once again, it's the critics who appear to be out of the mainstream.
Outside the mainstream
And by out of the mainstream, I mean really out of the mainstream. According to a post-Sandy Hook Gallup poll, the NRA,with a 54% favorable rating, is actually more popular than President Obama. By contrast, Obama's most recent approval rating from Gallup was 48%. This is particularly striking given that the NRA has faced unrelentingly hostile treatment from most press and pundits, while President Obama has received treatment that is, to put it mildly, far more generous.
Even left-Democrat Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota says he's unsure about whether he'd support an assault weapon ban. This is, I presume, because he fears that even a blue state like Minnesota doesn't want more restrictive gun laws, and that a different position will hurt him in the coming election.
In other words, it seems likely that this Washington Post claim is right: That the NRA is actually winning.
How can that be? Simple enough. The NRA more closely reflects the views of most Americans on gun issues than do Democratic pundits — or Barack Obama.
Somebody's out of the mainstream, all right. It's just not the gun-rights supporters.