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The same poll that found the public favoring more restrictions on guns also found the NRA with virtually the same image as (actually, slightly better than) the Democratic Party.
While 42 percent of respondents had a favorable image of the NRA and 34 percent had an unfavorable one, 41 percent had a favorable view of the Democratic Party and 36 percent had an unfavorable one.
Talk of more gun control is more likely to resonate with voters as a top-tier issue in urban and suburban areas than in rural areas, but most of the representatives in and around major urban areas in the Northeast, Midwest and far West already are Democrats who support more gun control.
It’s possible, of course, that Republicans from urban and suburban districts, including Reps. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, Patrick Meehan and Jim Gerlach in the Philadelphia suburbs, or Michael G. Grimm in New York City and Peter T. King on Long Island, could have additional problems because of the issue.
But it is far too soon to know whether the issue will have legs six months from now, let alone more than a year and a half from now. That certainly depends on whether there are other high-profile shootings over the next 20 months and whether other issues for swing voters will overshadow guns.
Bloomberg, who gets kid glove treatment from reporters and commentators who would be skewering the Koch Brothers or George Soros for doing the same thing that the mayor has done with his money, will need to do a lot more than help the winning candidate in a Chicago-area Democratic primary before he has the right to claim that he has transformed American politics.
For now, the Illinois race tells us precious little about the effect of gun control in 2014 or about the midterm elections in general.
Stuart Rothenberg (@stupolitics) is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report (rothenbergpoliticalreport.com).