Women who don’t usually vote in midterm elections — the same women who generally drive Democratic victories — will turn out in 2014 over the issue of guns, according to a recent poll.
The survey released by Women Donors Network, a self-described progressive “community of women philanthropists,” found that a subset of women voters who usually don’t vote in midterm elections are more likely to vote in 2014 on the issue of gun violence.
The survey, which was conducted by Democratic pollster Diane Feldman and Republican pollster Bob Carpenter using live phone calls to 1,500 women, found that “women who may not ordinarily vote in a non-presidential year are among those most engaged with issues of gun violence.” The group also posted a PDF slide deck presenting the poll’s findings.
Feldman explained in an interview with TPM on Wednesday the results mean guns could be good politics for Democrats.
“As we approach the 2014 congressional elections, the question will be to what degree do single women, lower income women, persons of color participate since that’s the Democratic edge,” she said. “And this is an issue that can encourage them to participate.”
Strong support for universal background checks on firearms purchases and a focus on mental health and reducing violence in schools could rally these women the polls in unexpected numbers in 2014, Feldman said. They also happen to be part of President Obama’s proposals following the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. Feldman called the potential increase in minority and lower income women voters “significant.” And that could change the dynamics of the election (thought it would also have an impact dependent upon the demographics of given congressional districts.)
I know what you are thinking, "But won't the pro-gun people be mobilized as well?" Pollster Diane Feldman already considered that possibility:
Obviously, gun rights supporters have been rallied by the talk of gun control as well. One only needs to look at the empty shelves at the local gun store for evidence of that. But Feldman noted that the stereotypical hardcore gun rights supporter — an older, white man — already votes in big numbers in the midterms. Also, the NRA’s objections to expanded background checks doesn’t have the ability to pull out their base, she said, because so many of the NRA’s members also support universal checks.
“Do i deny an NRA constituency? Of course not.” Feldman said. But, she added, “background checks are not a mobilizing issue for their members.”
You know sometimes I think that President Obama might be a political wizard on sabbatical from his professorial duties teaching at Hogwarts. He seems to have the uncanny ability to recognize when the country is ready to support a piece of legislation once considered to polarizing to introduce.
He managed to get the Affordable Care Act passed, he got rid of DADT, and now he is positioned perfectly to have a real impact on the number of gun deaths in this country, and by doing so even bring more Democratic voters to the polls.
And another thing working in the President's favor is the fact that Republican politicians are essentially eating their own, and their constituents have lost confidence in them.
By the way I have NO problem believing that women feel very strongly about this gun control issue and are mobilized politically. On my Facebook page, on Twitter, and on this blog the women are the MOST strident pro-gun control voices that I hear.
If I were the NRA I would be changing my tactics today, and if I were a Republican politician I would run, not walk, as far away from that organization as possible until they do.