A majority of Republican and Republican-leaning men, 53 percent, would be “very pleased” or “somewhat pleased” if legislation requiring universal background checks on all gun sales was passed by Congress and signed by the president, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.
The results quantify the broad popularity of expanding background checks on firearms purchases across the political spectrum, even among a segment of the public usually opposed to gun-control measures. Support for universal background checks ranges from mild among Republican men to strong among Republican women to almost wild among Democrats.
Three-quarters of Democrats said they would be “very pleased” to see background-check legislation enacted — more than the 64 percent of Republicans who said they would be “very pleased” if the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was repealed.
At first glance, the political downside to background-check legislation is virtually nonexistent: Just 14 percent of all Americans and just 19 percent of Republicans said they would be “very disappointed” if such a law was enacted. Among Republican women, just 12 percent said the same.
However, 30 percent of Republican men said they would be “very disappointed” if universal background checks became law. That finding helps to explain the fate of the background-check legislation sponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., last April, and illustrate the ability of a vocal minority to scuttle legislation that most Americans support. Despite the issue’s national appeal, Toomey and Manchin’s amendment to expand background checks to gun shows and Internet sales was opposed by four Senate Democrats and attracted the support of only four Republicans, thus failing to reach the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster.
The United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, surveyed 1,003 adults by landline and cell phone from Nov. 21-24. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama has said he’ll nominate John King to fill out the last few months of Obama’s presidency as Secretary of Education. King has been in an acting secretary role since Arne Duncan stepped down in December. The White House is pressuring the Senate to act quickly on the nomination.
Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t taking this whole superdelegate thing lying down. Despite a tie a blowout win against Hillary Clinton, Sanders trails her by some 350 delegates in the overall count, thanks mostly to superdelegates pledging to support her. His backers have taken to creating a MoveOn.org petition to pressure the superdelegates to be flexible. It reads: “Commit to honoring the voters—let everyone know that you won’t allow your vote to defeat our votes. Announce that in the event of a close race, you’ll align yourself with regular voters—not party elites.” So far it’s attracted 162,000 signatures.
House Speaker Paul Ryan today is trying to convince his large but divided conference that they need to pass a budget under regular order. “Conservatives are revolting against higher top-line spending levels negotiated last fall by President Obama and Ryan’s predecessor, then-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). GOP centrists are digging in on the other side, pledging to kill any budget that deviates from the two-year, bipartisan budget deal.” Ryan’s three options are to lower the budget numbers to appease the Freedom Caucus, “deem” a budget and move on to the appropriations process, or “preserve Obama-Boehner levels, but seek savings elsewhere.”
“A bill headed for President Barack Obama this week includes a provision that would ban U.S. imports of fish caught by slaves in Southeast Asia, gold mined by children in Africa and garments sewn by abused women in Bangladesh, closing a loophole in an 85-year-old tariff law.” The Senate approved the bill, which would also ban Internet taxes and overhaul trade laws, by a vote of 75-20. It now goes to President Obama.
Bernie Sanders has closed to within seven points of Hillary Clinton in a new Morning Consult survey. Clinton leads 46%-39%. Consistent with the New Hampshire voting results, Clinton does best with retirees, while Sanders leads by 20 percentage points among those under 30. On the Republican side, Donald Trump is far ahead with 44% support. Trailing by a huge margin are Ted Cruz (17%), Ben Carson (10%) and Marco Rubio (10%).