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Saturday, March 24, 2018

So far, #NeverAgain isn't hurting the Republicans

by digby

Harry Enten has some sobering news about gun control. Let's hope today changes this dynamic:
Even as the majority of Americans disapprove of the job the President has done handling gun policy, his approval rating has not fallen in the wake of Parkland shooting. The shooting occurred on February 14. Looking at the average of all polls and adjusting for whether the pollster normally has results that are more or less favorable to the President, Trump's approval rating in the month before the murders at Parkland (i.e. January) was 40%. In the first full calendar month after Parkland (i.e. March), his approval rating is actually a point higher at 41%. That 41% is also a point above the average for his entire presidency of 40%.

The President's approval rating over February and March of 2018 are the highest they've been in a very long time. In no month in the second half of 2017 did his approval rating ever top 40% for a month. He's now done it for two consecutive months (including February, during which the massacre at Parkland occurred).

Contrast that to other monumental moments in this administration: Trump saw his ratings dip by three or four points on average after he fired FBI Director James Comey and during the debate over the unpopular Republican health care bill.

Congressional Republicans too have seen no decline in their ratings. Although they still trail on the generic congressional ballot, an average of all surveys in March puts the Republican deficit at 8 percentage points. That's the same as it was in February and in January. All of which are equal to the long-term average since the beginning of the Trump presidency. All of which are also better than where Republicans were in December when they trailed by 11 percentage points on the generic congressional ballot.

Just five years ago, when Congress didn't enact stricter gun laws following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, congressional Republicans similarly didn't see their polling numbers take a hit and they went on to gain seats in the following year. Or go back 24 years ago, when Republicans might have actually been rewarded for mostly voting against the federal assault weapons ban that President Bill Clinton signed into law.

In fact, Trump and Republicans might be at bigger risk of losing support if they were to support stricter gun legislation. A majority of those who support Trump oppose stricter gun legislation, and the GOP base could abandon him and Republicans who stray from that position.

I can't believe Trump has actually ticked up in approval. It boggles the mind. The only thing I can attribute it to is normalization. What we once believed was impossible for a president to be and do we have now found out is entirely possible. It's bringing his tribe back home.

Meanwhile, other polling is showing a surge of support for gun control:
Support for tougher gun control laws is soaring in the United States, according to a new poll that found a majority of gun owners and half of Republicans favor new laws to address gun violence in the weeks after a Florida school shooting left 17 dead and sparked nationwide protests. 
The poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that nearly 7 in 10 adults now favor stricter gun control measures. That’s the strongest level of support since The Associated Press first asked the question five years ago.

The problem? Hopelessness:

The new poll also found that nearly half of Americans do not expect elected officials to take action.

“It feels hopeless,” said 30-year-old Elizabeth Tageson-Bedwin, of Durham, North Carolina, a self-described Republican who teaches 7th grade English. “Considering recent events, gun control in this country needs to be stricter — and it can be without infringing on anyone’s rights.”

Gun proliferation advocates vote on the issue. Maybe #NeverAgain will turn a new generation into people who vote on that issue too.

They don't know that it's hopeless.

So maybe it isn't.