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Obama gun view out of step with public opinion: Column

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.

by Anonymousreply 2401/29/2013

Awful, just awful article and if true even worse. This country deserves to have its children slaughtered if this is the attitude of its citizens. The NRA has become a potent force or evil in the US- not about gun safety as it was founded, but about gun sales and money- at any cost, even more than 300 million guns in the hand of citizens in many cases that can not get drivers licenses.

Anyone who thinks they are safer because they have a gun at home or on their person is deluded- and in fact just the opposite is true, and the same for each of their family and friends. Almost all gunshot deaths are inflicts on people well known to the shooter, or at home accidents or suicides.

People who insist they need guns to protect themselves from harm are willfully ignorant. They are doing no such thing. They are doing just the opposite.

by Anonymousreply 101/27/2013

And our resident elder biter DL'ers blame video games, thus falling for the NRA's bullshit, that it's not the guns, but the video games that cause shootings day after day in US.

by Anonymousreply 201/27/2013

I sincerely wish that te NRA was outlawed

by Anonymousreply 301/27/2013

You people really want only the right wing nuts to be armed?

by Anonymousreply 401/27/2013

Most US citizens agree that there is no need for a private citizen to have automatic weapons. Obama isn't trying to take people's precious guns away. He's merely trying to reinstate the Automatic Weapons Ban which should never have been overturned. Wayne Pierre is a psychopath and anyone who doesn't see that is not worth knowing.

by Anonymousreply 501/27/2013

Awful OPINION piece. I don't care what the polls say - I don't believe those numbers. They're still phone-based intervews which can't be the best way to contact people nowadays.

by Anonymousreply 601/27/2013

Coming from USA Today, I'm not surprised. Tends to be a very Republican-leaning paper and its primary readership appears to be crawling with Tea Party. Just read the horrid comments on any news story for proof of that.

And on a side note, their new website design is truly the most horrible, fucked-up piece of shit I've seen on any site ever. They need to change it back pronto.

by Anonymousreply 701/27/2013

One thing seeing the movie "Lincoln" made me realize was how self-destructive Americans are, it seems to be a part of our national character.

The NRA was founded in 1871, the same year Congress passed the Enforcement Act to destroy the KKK. Just sayin'.

by Anonymousreply 801/27/2013

This is just some columnist's opinion and just like in the election he's picking and choosing polls to suit his own beliefs.

Some highlights from an article in the Constitution Center that contradicts the columnist's premise:

"A review of nine recent national polls shows that two gun control ideas have widespread support among Americans, and citizens have concerns about Second Amendment issues.

By an overwhelming majority, Americans favor background checks for gun sales and in most cases, for sales at gun shows. The average response was 88 percent in favor of background checks, with a low of 84 percent for the Associated Press poll and a high of 92 percent in surveys from CBS and CNN.

By an average response of 57 percent, people favored a ban on high-capacity gun clips, while 56 percent of Americans approved of a ban on assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.

Of the 12 ideas that appeared across the grouping of nine polls, the least popular was arming teachers and school officials with guns. It only had a support rate of 41 percent.

The National Rifle Association was given a favorable rating of 48 percent in an average of five polls."

by Anonymousreply 901/27/2013

[quote]You people really want only the right wing nuts to be armed?

Thanks for continuing the 'dumb American' stereotype.

by Anonymousreply 1001/27/2013

Regardless, the majority approves of the NRA, and that's sickening. These polls are being done post-Sandy shooting. That is repulsive! People have witnessed the worst (and typical) of the NRA's behavior in the aftermath of this tragedy, and they're still not swayed. Gun sales were at their highest after the Sandy massacre. The NRA's board is made up of racists.

by Anonymousreply 1101/27/2013


I know I'm going to get hammered on this one, but I would appreciate if someone could start a topic for intelligent conversation on when you should leave a political party.

I think of myself as a Rockefeller Republican--based on the admittedly meager reading that I have done on the political spectrum--but my politics can basically be described as fiscally conservative, socially liberal. When I registered to vote 15 years ago, such a position put me solidly in the Republican party. Having majored in economics, coming from a family of finance people (not high finance), and having interned for an economist starting as a teenager and through my summers from college, my economic philosophy could never be anything other than conservative. (And I have spent years reading socialist history, the Webbs, Keynes, Fabians, etc, among others.)

Obviously, I've been disappointed with the Republican party's stance on social issues for years; and for just as many years, since college, I've been writing my representatives monthly to convey my ire over the Christian wackiness and just plain stupidity that has taken hold of the Republican party. (I have a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of all my letters.) But at what point do you decide to leave? Two of my more liberal, democrat buddies have been encouraging me for years to stay and to continue writing letters, with the conviction that a one-party system is even worse than a two-party system.

So do you stay and try to convert, or do you change parties?

by Anonymousreply 1201/27/2013

Al Franken is not going to go for Feinstein's proposal either because it would mean that he would be bounced in MN & it looks like the R's have a good chance of taking at least 6 seats in the Senate in 2014.

by Anonymousreply 1301/27/2013

R12 -- I was gone by 2004 when the anti-gay venom bubbled to the surface in all those state referendums, and The Pretend President delegated all of the non-military/foreign affairs decisions to his fundie pals. My isolationist, socially liberal mom clings to her Republican registration, hoping they'll wise up ... kinda like Linus (I think it was) and the Great Pumpkin. The party will not change until a candidate has the balls to run a general election from the center, stopping the Gay Hatefest and acknowledging that we're a pro-Roe nation.

by Anonymousreply 1401/27/2013

[quote]I think of myself as a Rockefeller Republican


by Anonymousreply 1501/27/2013

Gallup Poll? According to them, Romney would be President right now.

by Anonymousreply 1601/27/2013

It's quite the opposite. The VAST MAJORITY of the American Public supports Obama's proposals, many of them with a super-majority. Obama's proposals are right smack-dab in the mainstream of American thought.

by Anonymousreply 1701/27/2013

Polls... for ever single position, a majority supports Obama's plan:

by Anonymousreply 1801/27/2013

r12, you sound like a Libertarian.

If you live in a solid Red or Blue state, your vote really doesn't matter.

So you may as well vote Libertarian and have the smug satisfaction of not having voted for whatever idiot is in office.

by Anonymousreply 1901/27/2013


The thing is that I'm not really motivated by smug satisfaction: I am, however, absolutely invested in the question of how our government works, and how it could be made to work better.

To answer your other implied question, I live in Florida and voted both times for Obama.

by Anonymousreply 2001/27/2013

[quote]Al Franken is not going to go for Feinstein's proposal either because it would mean that he would be bounced in MN & it looks like the R's have a good chance of taking at least 6 seats in the Senate in 2014.

Where do you get this from, R13?

Al Franken is looking solid for 2014, and Minnesota is a Democratic state. The top Republicans in MN like Former Senator Coleman and Former Governor Pawlenty have already backed out from running against him.

Who is left? Bachmann?

by Anonymousreply 2101/27/2013


Thanks for your response! Out of curiosity, have you ever felt the impulse to become more involved in shaping the policy (on a local level) of either party beyond writing letters or making phone calls?

I think I'm going though some sort of political existentialism right now.

by Anonymousreply 2201/27/2013

I wouldn't be surprised if they only polled NRA members and, even then, almost half of them were too stupid to answer the question in their own favor.

by Anonymousreply 2301/27/2013

I think the poll is out of step with real public opinion.

by Anonymousreply 2401/29/2013
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