A majority of Americans say that a ban on assault weapons would significantly reduce mass shootings, but beneath those findings lurks a huge gender gap, one that rivals the divide between Democrats and Republicans on the issue, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.
Women are far more likely than men to say that mass shootings could be reduced if there were a ban on assault weapons, such as the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that Adam Lanza used to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school last December. Almost three-quarters of women say an assault-weapons ban would be effective, compared with 44 percent of men. A majority of men, 54 percent, say such a ban wouldn’t have a serious impact on reducing mass shootings.
Like the nation as a whole, opinion on the matter among Republicans is also riven by a gender gap. Republicans in general do not think an assault-weapons ban would be an effective way to cut down on mass shootings; only 42 percent say it would reduce them. But that skepticism is quartered largely among Republican men. While less than a third (29 percent) of GOP men and GOP-leaning men say an assault ban would be effective, a majority of Republican women and Republican-leaning women (57 percent) say a ban would reduce mass shootings.
The gender gap is less pronounced among Democrats, who overwhelmingly (72 percent) say an assault ban would reduce shootings. But it is still there: Democratic women and women who lean toward the Democrats are more likely than their male counterparts to say that an assault-weapons ban would reduce shootings, by 79 percent to 66 percent.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.