The PJ Tatler

Poll: Obama Slipping, Guns Helping Republicans Rise

The latest Quinnipiac poll has a mixed bag of news for politicians in both parties. President Obama has slipped a point in the past month, down to 45% approval 46% disapproval. He stood at 53% shortly after his re-election.

Congress continues to be unpopular, and congressional Republicans are more unpopular than congressional Democrats. But on one issue, Republicans have opened a little daylight. Republicans are more trusted on guns than the president, 44 to 42%.

But even with that, there is bad news on the gun front overall. A vast majority — 88% — support “background checks for all gun buyers.”  The devil’s in the details on that, and those details are not being explained in the press. Background checks at retail and licensed resellers are already mandated. Such sales make up the heavy majority of all gun sales both inside and outside gun shows. The question is, should private sales also be subject to background checks. Enforcing such a mandate could open the way to national firearm registration as a means of tracking private sales.

A majority of 54% also supports a renewal of the “assault” weapons ban. I put that in quotes, because “assault” is a subjective term that can end up banning many weapons that have no military or “assault” application at all. Despite the left’s rhetoric, the AR-15 is not a military weapon. Semiautomatic weapons are no more powerful than non-semiautos. The media aren’t adequately explaining any of that, either. Overall 54% also say that they back national bans on the sales of gun magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. That would render many mainstream self-defense firearms illegal. But overall, enthusiasm for new gun laws is on the decline since late 2012.