Guns Are About Identity

The Economist: “Americans of different political beliefs live ever-more different lives. That adds an element of raw tribalism to what should be dispassionate questions of public policy. Guns are a grim example. Consider polls that show Americans are becoming more hostile to gun control, and more willing to say that guns are necessary for self-defense. The headline numbers are striking enough. But as so often with headline numbers, they conceal vast and widening gaps between different regions, races and classes.”

“Gallup pollsters have asked Americans the same question for some years, namely whether having a gun in the house makes it a safer or more dangerous place to be. In 2000 Republicans were already more likely than Democrats to think that guns made a home safer, by a margin of 44% to 28%. Just before Mr Obama’s election in 2008 Democrats had become more gun-friendly, with 41% thinking them a source of safety, compared to 53% of Republicans. Then the gap between the two parties exploded. By 2014 Democrats were still at 41%, but 81% of Republicans now said that a gun made their homes safer.”

“Pew Research Center polling shows that whites are almost twice as likely as blacks and Hispanics to say it is more important to protect gun rights than to control access to guns. Those living in rural areas and Americans living in the South and Midwest are far keener on guns than those in the north-east. Post-graduates are much keener on gun control than those with high school educations alone. Gun ownership follows similar trends.”

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  • EricFromTheHill

    Whenever I see something with polling history like this, it makes me wonder how little of a grasp Gallup actually has on what they do. To compare partisan groups in 2000, 2008, and 2014 and attribute polling changes to attitude changes only hides the bigger issue: how people identify with parties. The group of people that call themselves Republican in recent years is much farther to the right than the one that called themselves Republican in 2000 or even 2008. It’s as much about changes in the group as it is changes in attitudes, even more so.

    • IndieRepub

      Yeah, Republicans in 2000 were actual sentient human beings rather than assholes who can’t bright a thought to a discussion. Nowadays they can fuck themselves.

      • they weren’t that great in 2000, either, i hate to tell you

        • StopWhining

          Let’s not bury the aggressive shift to the right that’s occurred over the past 15 years.

          • ok. let’s also not whitewash the aggressive shift to the right that took place in the 80s

          • StopWhining

            Agreed, but come on now. We’re on the same team at this point… and Reagan is a Democrat in this new world.

          • kind67

            You have to remember, former President Reagan had a Democratic House the entire time he was in office. If he had a Republican House and Senate when he was President, his actions would have been far more right wing than they were–and they were plenty right wing, as it was. And his Cabinet appointees were far-right wackos. However, one big change that has occurred in recent years is that there are almost no Republican moderates in elective office compared to the 1980s.

          • hey if I offended you because you supported Republicans back then that was not my intent. My own family background is Republican and we each reach our views through our life experiences. I don’t deny that the GOP has gone far off the rails especially since Obama, but I saw a lot of the seeds of this derangement under Clinton and I think Reagan took the whole nation on a joyride we are still paying for.

          • IndieRepub

            Never offended. You’re bringing legit arguments to this site, it’s a nice change of pace from the regular world. I agree completely, but some of the derangement has to be adjusted for general societal progress. 1994 was the first time a plurality of Americans supported interracial marriage. The idea that Reagan had racist policies is true, but we were barely a decade past the moon landing. Nowadays if someone goes Strom Thurmond on us and tells us the flag should be staying, it’s a different game. I’d argue modern republicans are WAY more out of touch with society than R’s were in the 80s.

          • agreed, yes. the drift has accelerated alarmingly.

  • Lorehead

    If guns in your home make it safer, why do Republicans in Florida need to make it illegal for homeowners’ insurance to “discriminate against the constitutional right to own a firearm” by charging people who keep guns in their home higher rates?

  • realnrh

    Florida Republicans want to use the machinery of government to prevent the free market from placing a price on something? Hey, if they think that guns make someone’s home safer, they should stand back and let the free market work. Someone can start up an insurance company and offer cheaper rates to houses that DO have guns, and see how well they perform! It’s the invisible hand!

  • WI_also

    So many people are mired in the whole ‘Left vs Right’ paradigm…

    It used to be that the bird of State was an Eagle with Right and Left wings…

    Unfortunately that bird has mutated into a Vulture and its course has consistently been veering to the Left… To all intents and purposes there is no difference between the two at this point in history.

    Both parties are just thinly veiled aspects of the same beast: Collectivism.

    The real issue is that of the Freedom of the Individual versus Submission to the Collective.

    America has fallen a long way since the days of the Founders and it has accelerated since Lincoln further forced Federalism/Central control on this nation.

    An honored ancestor of mine – the one who wrote down the actual Charter at the first Republican meeting – would be ashamed at what their dream has turned into!

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