Survey: Americans trust GOP on gun policy, not Dems

The topline story from a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll is that voter enthusiasm among Democrats is still cratering, but on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re delving a little deeper into the survey results, which also offers more evidence that the Democratic Party’s enthusiastic push for more gun control laws is turning off voters and could have a major impact on the midterm elections.

As POLITICO reports, the double-digit lead among Republicans in terms of voter enthusiasm has some Democratic strategists hitting the panic button. One big problem for the Democrats is that on issue after issue, the electorate trusts Republicans more than Democrats… including gun policy.

Republicans currently have a 7-point lead over Democrats on the issue, and are trusted more to handle gun policy by a majority of voters over the age of 34… which just so happens to be the people who are most likely to vote in any given election.

Even groups that tend to skew Democratic in their votes are divided on who they trust more to handle gun policy. Voters with post-graduate degrees, for example, split 45-45 on who they trust more.

The numbers are particularly bad for Democrats when broken down along geographic demographics.

Urban voters trust Democrats over Republicans by 17 points, but even then they can only attract an anemic 50% of respondents. Voters in deep-blue Democratic-run cities appear to be losing faith in the party’s gun control efforts, and that’s the good news for Democrats here. Suburban voters, which have long been a target of gun control groups like Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, now side with Republicans over Democrats on the issue by 7-points, which could be hugely important this fall in key swing districts like Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, where Democrat Abigail Spanberger has touted her endorsement of Moms Demand Action in recent campaigns.

The growing trust gap in the suburbs is nothing compared to the hole Democrats are digging for themselves with rural voters, however. By a whopping 23-point margin rural respondents say they trust Republicans more on gun policy than Democrats, which is brutal for a party that’s trying to figure out how to compete with the GOP in rural parts of the country. As I wrote in February in response to another Morning Consult poll that specifically looked at rural voters:

Basically, the only rural voters who want gun control are the most hardcore Democrats, but even then the issue is one of their lowest priorities, along with expanding immigration, support for Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQ+ rights.

In other words, what drives support for the Democrat Party in big cities is driving rural voters away from the left, though there are still some Democrats who insist that with just a few tweaks the party can deliver a message that resonates in rural spaces.

There are more votes in the cities than in the country, so the Democrats aren’t going to abandon their big city base in the hopes of winning over us rubes. In fact, even though it’s likely to cost them votes in the suburbs and outlying areas, I don’t think the Democrats really have a choice in doubling down on their embrace of an anti-gun agenda. Right now Democratic campaign strategists are looking at ways to motivate the party’s base to turn out, and that means they can’t abandon or back off their gun ban plans, even if it’s going to be the ATF and DOJ doing the heavy lifting instead of congressional Democrats.

In the NBC poll, more than seven in 10 Americans say things generally in the nation are on the wrong track. Only a third of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, by far the overarching concern in the midterms. Biden’s approval rating, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling average, sits below 42 percent. And while two-thirds of Democrats in the spring of 2018 registered a high level of interest in that year’s midterms — presaging a successful midterm election for the Democratic Party — just 50 percent of Democrats do today.

Now, a lot can happen between April and November, so I don’t want us to get too cocky. Still, for months now we’ve seen a number of polls and surveys showing a steady drop in support for new gun control laws, while millions of Americans are embracing their Second Amendment rights for the first time in their lives. All in all, the evidence is adding up that the Democrats’ anti-gun ideology is going to be another drag on their electoral fortunes and that the party is simply out of step with a majority of American voters when it comes to our right to keep and bear arms.