Society

Why Aren't Americans Peeved About Gun Control Loss? Looking at the Numbers

| by Dabney Bailey
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Gun control advocates believed that they had the support of 90% of American voters, but after the gun bill was defeated in the Senate public outrage has been unexpectedly absent. A new poll from the Washington-Pew Research Center estimated that only about 47% of Americans are upset about the gun control bill’s defeat. By comparison, about 39% of voters described themselves as “relieved” or “happy” about the result.

This margin was even smaller among voters who were “very closely” monitoring the gun control bill. Voters were nearly split evenly, with 48% upset and 47% relieved about the loss.

Which demographics were happy and which were upset? A look at the numbers proves (unsurprisingly) that Americans didn’t deviate from their political and geographical demographics. About 67% of Democrats were unhappy about the outcome, compared to 51% of republicans who were happy about the bill’s defeat. Northeasterners, postgrads, and democrats represent the three strongest supporters of the gun bill. By contrast, republicans, independents, westerners, and those without any college education were the top four groups who felt very happy about the bill’s defeat.

One of the most interesting things about the poll results is just how strongly the poll participants felt about the gun control debate. In general, those who were happy about the bill’s defeat had a much stronger emotional response than those who were unhappy about the defeat. Those who were happy about the defeat were more willing to list themselves as “very happy” rather than “relieved.”

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These numbers are both surprising and disappointing for gun control advocates. Obama (or rather, the organization that tweets on his behalf) tweeted that he was moving on stricter gun control laws with 90% of Americans supporting him. Other gun control advocates similarly expected to be able to push the bill through Congress with constituents pestering their conservative representatives to back down, but somehow the gun control movement lost steam along the way. 

Does this poll prove that the shelf life of gun control sentiment is less than half a year? Just four months after one of the worst school shootings in American history, it's surprising that gun control advocates are already backing out of the fight. Simply put, the gun control movement may lack the long-term support it needs to create meaningful gun control legislation.

Source: Washington Post