At the NRA website you can learn about how "the media continually misfires." Get it? Well, America is no longer chuckling at its tone-deafness. Both Gallup and PPP have shown the NRA's favorability declining post-Newtown. And even gun owners are distancing themselves from the group. By refusing to seek a balanced approach to reducing gun violence, the NRA has exiled itself from the mainstream.
PPP this week finds the NRA now unfavorable (42 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable) in the wake of their crazy-making December 21st press conference. This is a drop from 48 percent favorable/41 percent unfavorable just weeks before, with erosion across party lines. While a few weeks ago Gallup found the NRA to be net favorable (the press conference occurred mid-fielding), it is still a six-point drop in favorability from their 2005 poll. Gallup also shows voters unfavorable toward the NRA are evenly divided between "very" and "mostly" unfavorable, while those favorable feel that way more softly.
This is a reminder that gun owners and the NRA are not synonymous. Gallup shows a quarter of gun owners to be unfavorable to the NRA. Even more troubling for the group, gun owners (45 percent of adults, Gallup estimates) are divided as to whether the organization reflects their own views on guns (50 percent always/most of the time reflects, 49 percent only sometimes/never reflects). And twice as many (19 percent) say the group "never" reflects their views than say it "always" does (10 percent). So according to Gallup about 5 percent of adults are gun owners who say the NRA always reflects their views. Hardly a dominant electoral bloc.
It's no surprise the NRA has found itself sidelined, since voters -- including gun owners -- see common ground. Republican pollster Frank Luntz showed in his work for Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2012 and in 2009 that huge numbers of gun owners (including NRA members), feel it is possible to protect gun rights while also keeping guns out of dangerous hands. And my firm's own work for the group (along with Republican pollster Bob Carpenter), showed voters in gun households are just as supportive of a long list of stronger gun laws. Right after the election, we polled again in three battleground states, and found the NRA's influence to be waning. (See here for all my past posts on guns.)
So, NRA, drop out of the gun violence debate if you must. But huge majorities of voters -- including your own members -- would still like a seat at the table to work for a solution.
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