The conventional wisdom seems to be that the American mainstream opposes any new restrictions on firearm ownership, but it may be time to revisit those assumptions. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows most of the public is against a ban on the sale of handguns, but for bans on semi-automatic handguns and high-capacity ammunition clips.
What's more, when the poll asked, "Do you favor or oppose stricter gun control laws in this country?" a 54% majority said they favor restrictions, which is the highest percentage in more than five years.
But in terms of electoral salience, it's especially interesting to see a more detailed breakdown. Greg Sargent reported:
What's really striking is that opposition to stricter gun control is largely driven by white men -- blue collar white men in particular. By contrast, college educated whites, white women, moderates, and minorities all show majority support for stricter gun laws. These are the emerging pillars of the Democratic coalition.
First, the toplines. The Post poll finds that Americans favor stricter gun laws by 54-43. The Post polling team tells me that whites oppose them by 48-50. But this is driven by opposition among white men (42-56) and non-college whites (44-53). By contrast, college educated whites favor stricter laws (54-43), as do white women (53-44).
The pattern largely applies to the other related poll questions -- white men and non-college whites are driving the opposition to gun laws.
As Democrats ponder strategies going forward, this clearly matters. Dem policymakers have been conditioned to fear an intense voter backlash to any new limits on firearm ownership, but the polling suggests the voters most inclined to hate new gun laws are already the voters most inclined to vote Republican.