But I've learned to have much less interest in polling on issues (as opposed to elections). Some of that is because polls about how Americans respond nationally to issues doesn't really seem to matter. Even in the election polls, the more accurate read was on the state polls. Politicians don't necessarily care what a majority of the people in the country say about an issue. They care what their constituents think. And even more narrowly than that - many Republicans care mostly about what primary voters in their districts/states think.
Jonathan Chait is even more cynical about it all than I am though.
Actually, since background checks command 90 percent in the polls but lack support from Republicans in Congress, pretty clearly millions of voices calling for change are less powerful than holding a House majority. They're also less powerful than a Senate majority. Or even 41 Senators, who can stop anything they want.This is the current dilemma that has most of us scratching our heads...how can Republicans hope to survive when 90% of the people disagree with their position? It seems to indicate that even those who might face a primary challenge in a deeply red district would be covered in voting for background checks.
Jonathan Bernstein breaks down why that's not the case.
"Public opinion" is barely real; most of the time, on most issues, change the wording of the question and you'll get entirely different answers. At best, "public opinion" as such is passive. And in politics, passive doesn't get results.I say all this to point out that our work is not over when we can simply point to an issue poll and say that the public agrees with us.
Its also interesting to note that this conversation is likely taking place precisely because we have a Community Organizer-in-Chief in the White House right now who - through vehicles like OFA - are bringing the voice of the people to bear on these issues. We're now at the stage where we're honing in on the particulars of how that can happen.