As the president unveils his new anti-gun measures tomorrow, it should be noted that gun control is at the bottom of everyone’s list of concerns. Ed Morrissey at HotAir wrote today that “the latest survey from Gallup shows what an epic fail the media campaign for legislative and executive action has been.” The poll findings indicate that:
Americans’ concerns about the federal budget deficit and government dysfunction rose high enough in January to knock unemployment out of the top two slots on Gallup’s “most important problem” list for the first time since 2009.
The poll finds 20% of Americans mentioning the federal budget deficit as the top problem, compared with 18% mentioning dissatisfaction with some aspect of government or government leaders, and 16% naming jobs or unemployment.
This distribution of open-ended responses to the “most important problem” question underscores a general shift from the dominance of concerns about the economy and unemployment to an increasing focus on problems more directly associated with government. The economy and unemployment had ranked as the top two problems each month since December 2009.
Now, the “dissatisfaction with government” percentage is as high as it has been since the Watergate days of 1974, although the precise ways in which these open-ended questions have been coded has changed somewhat during that time. The percentage mentioning the deficit as the top problem is as high as it has been since 1996.
Furthermore, Morrissey noted how “in nominally liberal areas, the numbers aren’t exactly pressing for significant action. Survey USA polled Oregonians on gun rights and gun control, and a majority (54/38) not only prioritized gun rights over gun control, but also by a 2-1 margin (62/30) believe that gun rights protect citizens rather than make society more dangerous. Among independents, those numbers are 58/37 and 72/20, respectively. A 12-point majority opposes bans on semi-automatic weapons (51/39), although a wide majority approves of a capacity limit (62/31).”
Furthermore, according to Mary Katherine Ham – also of Hot Air – the gun buyback programs are ineffective, despite their recent jolt of life in the news. Ham cited a piece by Dan Horn that was featured in USA Today showing that:
[R]esearchers who have evaluated gun control strategies say buybacks – despite their popularity – are among the least effective ways to reduce gun violence. They say targeted police patrols, intervention efforts with known criminals and, to a lesser extent, tougher gun laws all work better than buybacks.
The biggest weakness of buybacks, which offer cash or gift cards for guns, is that the firearms they usually collect are insignificant when measured against the arsenal now in the hands of American citizens.
However, given the new data showing that government gridlock and the federal deficit are top concerns, why is Obama focusing on guns? Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) noted today how the debt has increased 60% since Obama took office.
President Obama has what Politico is calling a debt problem: “The staggering national debt — up about 60% from the $10 trillion Obama inherited when he took office in January 2009 — is the single biggest blemish on Obama’s record, even if the rapid descent into red began under President George W. Bush. Obama has long emphasized Bush’s role in digging the immense hole. But he owns it now.
Yes, with that statistic, I would want to talk about guns too – and offer extraneous regulations that inhibit Americans’ ability to defend themselves. Go back to sleep! Government is here.