Gun control supporters tend to think of their victories as happening as soon as the law is signed. At that point, they figure, they have what they want. They also figure the laws get signed because they’re calling the shots. They hold press conferences and talk about their great victories and make the typical bogus claims that people will be safer.
However, it’s not over for the politicians who support those laws.
Oh, for some, it’s no big deal. Those who represent anti-gun enclaves can rest easy and never have to worry about their vote really coming back to bite them in the butt.
But for governors of states that sign such bills? Well, that can get…ugly.
Gov. Phil Scott saw a sharp drop in approval in the second quarter of 2018, the latest Morning Consult poll shows, a plummet that political analysts are attributing to his decision earlier this year to tighten the state’s gun laws.
Two other recent polls have shown Scott struggling with his own political base, but unlike those polls, Morning Consult conducts regular polling showing changes over time.
Scott was spotlighted in Morning Consult’s latest rundown of governor rankings thanks to the distinction of having the most dramatic quarterly drop in net approval rating since the company started ranking governors by popularity in 2016.
Net approval rating is calculated by subtracting approval ratings from disapproval ratings. Scott’s net approval was 44 percent three months ago; it is now 5 percent — a 39 percent drop.
Scott, who last quarter was one of the most popular governors in the country, is now one of the least. The new poll shows him dropping from the list of top 10 most liked governors and falling to just three spots away from the 10 least popular state executives.
The fact is, gun control support is not necessarily good for your political career.
Now, that’s not to say that Scott can’t salvage this. He just assumed office last year, which means he’s got two more years to pull something out of this. However, an approval rating that low is usually not a good indicator of career health. (Correction: A Vermont resident on Twitter told me, and I confirmed, that governors there only get two-year terms. Looks like Scott is in more trouble than I thought.) And this is from a Republican who was able to garner almost 60 percent approval from Democrats.
In other words, Scott done messed up, as we say in my neck of the woods.
As I’ve noted before, gun control is a polarizing issue, but it’s also generally a non-starter in a lot of ways. Those who support it don’t usually think of it as particularly important, all things considered, except in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting. Those who oppose it think that opposition is very important.
Those two factors mean it’s generally smarter for most officials to not make gun control a priority.
Scott did, and now he’s reaping the repercussions of that betrayal, and yes, it’s a betrayal. How many people supported Scott’s gubernatorial campaign because they believed he’d support the Second Amendment? He didn’t. Trust me, the term applies.
Let this be a lesson to other politicians out there, though. Turn your back on the Second Amendment at your own peril. Your career may well come to an abrupt halt if you’re not careful.