Said the article:
“Only 47 percent of respondents said they were ‘disappointed’ or ‘angry’ that the Senate last week failed to advance a bill to expand background checks to gun shows and online sales. Yet in February, a Pew poll found that 83 percent of respondents supported an expansion of background checks to cover gun shows and all private sales – measures that would actually be stricter than what the Senate rejected.The article then goes on to look at some of the possibilities. Some apparently suggest that the reason gun control failed is because Americans have an “enduring libertarian streak.” Apparently, “Americans are loath to tell their neighbors what to do.” Maybe, but that doesn’t explain this issue. If it did, then you wouldn’t have the first poll showing that 83% of the American public support background checks, would you? Or are we to believe that people lie on polls to jack up the support for things they plan to oppose?
If Americans overwhelmingly support strict background checks, why aren’t they angrier that the Senate failed to pass even moderate background checks? How could 39 percent be "happy" or "relieved" by the result? Where is the outrage to which President Obama was appealing when he called the Senate vote ‘a pretty shameful day for Washington.’”
Others suggest that this shows that the gun lobby lies. In fact, a political scientist quoted in the article says “that’s the only way to make sense of that many people being happy with the outcome.” Idiot. This is usually how morons argue – the bad guys lied, the voters are low-information voters, etc. This is simple delusion for people who don’t like the fact that what they want doesn’t sell.
Others said that maybe the problem was the public realized that this bill wouldn’t have changed anything. Indeed, even the bill’s sponsor Dianne Feinstein “conceded that none of the proposed laws, including her assault weapon ban, would have stopped the [Newton] massacre.” Could be, but then why not be angry that Congress didn’t fix the problem?
In the end, the writer
Ya know... this isn’t that hard. In fact, the answer is actually pretty obvious. When you ask a question in a vacuum, people will respond whether the issue matters to them or not. In other words, asking a question in a poll only tells you how they would answer that question, not whether they care about that issue. Thus, it’s apples and oranges to assume the 83% number in the first poll actually means anyone cares about this issue. And if they don’t care, they won't be angry, will they? This about it this way... if we asked people if they want lobster if given a choice, we may find that 90% of the public says yes, but odds are that few of those people have had lobster lately or intend to have it again in the future. It’s the same thing here. People might support background checks by 83% when asked to state an opinion, but they just don’t care about the issue when they aren’t asked. So why would they be angry if it doesn’t pass? Oh, we don’t get lobster, gee, I’m angry now.
This interpretation actually was born out by the “anger” poll, which showed that only 40% of respondents were following the vote.
IN OTHER WORDS, the public doesn’t care about gun control. We know this because six in ten weren’t paying attention even though this was an issue the media covered obsessively and which Obama talked about incessantly. Even worse for gun-control advocates, of the 40% who cared enough to pay attention, 31% said they were happy the bill failed (only 22% were angry). The rest were non-committal. That means the country breaks down this way on gun control:
Another reason the failure doesn’t make anyone angry is that there is a huge difference between supporting something in principle and supporting the specific bill in which it’s included. Supporters admitted this bill wouldn’t solve the problems they claimed it would. So why would anyone care if it fails unless they are an ideologue who wanted this to pass on principle? Moreover, they tried to fill the bill with all kinds of things with which the public did not agree. Again, this is something only ideologues want and, apparently, there are only 8% of them.
So there’s no contradiction at all between these two polls. To me, it’s pretty obvious that what’s going on is that the public just isn’t ideological on the gun control issue. They will accept reasonable restrictions if they think they will work, but they don’t want solutions that don’t work and they don’t want ideological crap rammed through on the back of the reasonable stuff. Sadly for the ideologues, that’s not enough.
The lessons here are that the liberal media is out-of-touch with the public and this should be a huge warning bell for them -- I kind of laughed when I saw an article the following day talking about how the Republicans who voted against this are now in danger with the voters. Talk about delusional. The other lesson is that the public remains much less emotional and much less ideological than people think.