Survey Finds Second Amendment Viewed More Favorably Than Capitalism

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File

Good news for our civil rights, but bad news for free markets. A survey of more than 2,000 adults taken earlier this year found the words "Second Amendment" to be one of the most polarizing phrases in American politics, with almost 90% of Republicans holding a favorable view compared to just under half of Democrats. 


Some phrases, like "national parks", "honesty", "freedom", and "responsibility" are favored by large majorities of both self-identified Republicans and Democrats, but "Second Amendment" is one where there's a notable gap in favorability between the left and the right. Still, more Democrats and Republicans have a favorable view of the Second Amendment than "capitalism" and "billionaires", according to the Ipsos poll

While about 48% of Democrats have a favorable view of the Second Amendment, just 25% view billionaires favorably, and "capitalism" was viewed favorably by about 43% of self-identified Democrats. Republican support for the Second Amendment topped out around 85%, higher than GOP favorability for "billionaires" (around 53%), and "capitalism" (72%).

So what does this mean for the 2024 election cycle? Well, given that a plurality of Democrats and the vast majority of Republicans view the Second Amendment favorably, I expect that most candidates will be playing up their support for the right to keep and bear arms... though we're going to hear an awful lot of "I support the Second Amendment, but..." statements from Democrats. 

Using words that divide people can help win some races when turning out the base is the key, said Cliff Young, Ipsos' president of polling and societal trends.

  • But Young said, "You can't govern effectively through polarization. What we're really talking about is, how do you govern afterwards. How do you build a coalition, consensus, achieve governance?"

How it works: Ipsos tested the favorability of dozens of phrases, names and concepts earlier this year for a survey for With Honor. The cross-partisan group aims to reduce polarization and supports veterans seeking office who take an integrity and civility pledge and agree to collaborate across the aisle.

  • The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults was conducted in two waves, in January and February, measuring the favorability of names, words and phrases.

What they're saying: "Understanding what words and concepts unite us is super relevant," said Rye Barcott, With Honor's co-founder and CEO.

  • "We're talking to Americans across the spectrum. So we are always trying to think through what does actually connect — not just for members that are speaking to their constituents but for us and any nonprofit or advocacy organizations trying to pass something into law. You have to be talking to Americans from both sides."

I have no issue with talking to folks from across the political spectrum, so long as candidates are being honest with them. That's the problem when it comes to most Democrats and the Second Amendment; no matter what gun control bill they're promoting, they promise that it doesn't violate the Second Amendment. Bans on so-called "assault weapons"? Oh, well those guns aren't protected by the Second Amendment in the first place? Declaring most publicly accessible places off-limits to concealed carry? Those are "sensitive", you see, so it's okay to ban guns there. 

The gun control lobby understands that it can't openly proclaim the Second Amendment doesn't exist and that every privately owned firearm in the U.S. should be confiscated without hurting Democratic candidates. Heck, they don't even want to use the phrase "gun control" because many voters have a negative connotation of that phrase (though oddly, Ipsos didn't include it in their most recent survey). Instead, they prefer "gun safety"... neglecting to mention, of course, that their definition is "don't own one." 

Yes, we'll continue to see Democrats in deep-blue districts express their outright hostility towards our right to keep and bear arms, but I suspect that this cycle we're also going to see a lot of candidates like Ryan Busse try to hide their desire for gun control behind buzzwords like "responsibility", "common sense", "reasonable", and yes, even "I support the Second Amendment, but..." Don't be fooled by what they say, especially when what they want is so contrary to what comes out of their mouths. 


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