Thursday, May 2, 2013

Senate Vote & Background Checks...

FiveThirtyEight, at the New York Times has a very interesting analysis of the whole failed Mancin-Toomey amendment. 

Go read it.

I found the closing paragraph revealing, however:

My view, in other words, is that polls showing 90 percent support for background checks will tend to overstate how well the Democrats’ position might play out before the electorate in practice, though public opinion was on their side on this vote.

Moreover, few of the Republican senators who are up for re-election in 2014 are vulnerable for any reason. Only one, Susan Collins of Maine, comes from a state that Barack Obama carried, and she voted for Mr. Manchin’s bill.

In fact, the safety of the Senate Republicans may have enabled them to vote against the amendment, at least in part, for a tactical reason: to protect their colleagues in the House. This is not to suggest that Republicans are likely to lose the House — but there are 17 House Republicans in districts carried by President Obama last year. By preventing the background-check bill from securing the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate, the Republicans may have prevented their House counterparts from having to take a tough vote.

Thus, Democrats are not in much of a position to capitalize on the vote from the standpoint of individual seats in Congress in 2014. To the extent that the issue plays favorably for Democrats in 2014, it is likely to be for symbolic reasons — because they are able to persuade voters that it reflects a Republican Party that is outside the mainstream.

This is not necessarily a hopeless strategy — particularly if Democrats can weave the background-check vote into a broader narrative about the Republican Party having become too conservative. But it does mean that, from an electoral standpoint, the symbolic implications of the vote outweigh the substantive ones. For Democrats to have much of a chance to win back the House — bucking the historical trend of the president’s party faring poorly in midterm years — the Republican Party will first and foremost have to be perceived as out-of-touch on the economy.
While there may have been support for the background checks, there is an overwhelming trend of seeking firearm ownership in the country. Using the Illinois FOID backlog as a correlation (perhaps the only thing it may be good for...), we're seeing record numbers of people taking CCW class and applying for FOID cards. Even if there was support for the amendment, there is overwhelming grassroots support for the 2nd Amendment... Odd bedfellows...