The top concern of Americans is not the economy, and definitely not guns and gun control, but dissatisfaction with government and poor leadership, according to a new Gallup survey reported Monday.
That might soon become the top concern of politicians, too, because the latest Rasmussen survey shows that a whopping 86 percent of likely voters say they are “definitely going to vote in the upcoming midterm elections in November.” Another 10 percent say they are probably going to vote.
The issue of guns and gun control at the national level rates about 2 percent, according to the Gallup data, although that may not apply to Washington State, where a major sweeping gun control initiative is on the ballot. It appears to be stirring up grassroots opposition from gun owners unlike anything that has been seen since 1997 when another gun control measure was on the ballot. At that time, Initiative 676 was rejected by 70 percent of the voters.
This time around, Initiative 1639 is being bankrolled by anti-gun billionaires and the campaign has already raised and spent more than $4 million.
But on the national level, guns take a distant back seat to government dissatisfaction, immigration/illegal immigrants, race relations, national unity, health care, lack of respect for one another and poverty/homelessness.
The Gallup numbers come from a telephone survey conducted Sept. 4-12 from a random sampling of about 1,035 adults age 18 and older.
Meanwhile, the Rasmussen survey found that there is little partisan difference when it comes to voting between Republicans and Democrats. More than 85 percent of voters identified with either party say they are going to the polls. More than 80 percent of independents also say they will vote in November.
Many believe the midterm elections will be a mandate on the Donald Trump presidency. The economy is in good shape, unemployment is down, the stock market seems healthy.
But the president’s style seems to grate on critics and even some supporters. Still, with much at stake including tax cuts, gun rights, federal court nominations and the economy, voters on both sides will be turning out in large numbers, if the polls are right.
It’s not just national politics that may guide many voters, either. There are lots of local issues that should bring voters out. State legislative races could be lively in several states, and then there are ballot issues.
Among those is the gun control measure in Washington State. Over the weekend, the “Yes on I-1639” campaign sent an email blast that acknowledged that the measure “will also provide a blueprint that other states can emulate.” Translation: If I-1639 passes in Washington, a similar gun restriction effort could come to other states with citizen initiative laws. This justifies the national attention that the initiative has been getting, and will continue to receive.
“I-1639 is the most comprehensive gun violence prevention measure in our state’s history. It will save countless lives. It will also provide a blueprint that other states can emulate. By supporting I-1639, you’re not just supporting a Washington ballot initiative. You’re making history because you’re helping lead a people’s movement that’s completely changing the game. That’s what the gun lobby is so worried about here, and it’s why they’re writing six-figure checks to fight us.”—Safe Schools/Safe Communities statement
But that’s rather deceptive. Their own campaign has received several “six-figure checks” from billionaires and wealthy elitists, from $100,000 to one for more than $1 million from Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Indeed, most of the $4.3 million the anti-gun campaign has raised so far came from nine sources, according to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.
Both the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association sued to keep the measure off the ballot, arguing that it did not comply with state election requirements. While they won in the trial court, the state Supreme Court reversed and allowed the initiative to go on the ballot despite its apparent flaws.
Where gun control is concerned, Washington appears to be the battleground state this year.