Why is this time different? Why are things going to change this time? Andrew Gelman at the Monkey Cage has a thought:
– The event itself is particularly horrifying: an elementary school instead of a high school, more kids getting killed, and the killer using three guns that were just lying around the house.
– Cumulation: each new shooting is added on to what came before, eventually enough people become motivated to act.
– Political timing: no national election for 23 months, now is the time for politicians to act without fear of the gun lobby.
– Political alignment: the Republicans have had so much success getting gun voters to their side that Democrats now have nothing to lose politically by supporting gun restrictions. And, if the Democrats move to restrict guns, savvy Republicans can move toward the center on the issue, confident that their Democratic opposition won’t outflank them on the right.
– The pendulum: to put that last point another way, gun policy has swung so far to the right in recent years that the force of public opinion will tend to pull it back to the center. This latest shooting has given politicians a chance to realize this and act on it.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 78% of Americans now think temperatures are rising and 80% say global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it.
The biggest change in the polling is among people who trust scientists only a little or not at all. Within that highly skeptical group, 61% now say temperatures have been rising over the past 100 years. That’s a substantial increase from 2009, when the poll found that only 47% of those with little or no trust in scientists believed the world was getting warmer.
A new Pew Research poll finds that when it comes to the reaching an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, 55% say President Obama is making a serious effort to work with Republicans. But just 32% say Republican leaders are making a serious effort to work with Obama on a deficit deal.
Obama’s first post-reelection job approval rating has risen to 55%, up five points since July and 11 points since the start of the year. His job rating is markedly higher than President George W. Bush’s first job measure (48%) after he won reelection in 2004. In contrast, just 25% approve of the way Republican leaders in Congress are doing their jobs, while 40% approve of Democratic leaders’ job performance.