Being Republican doesn't necessarily equate to gun nuttery | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 20, 2015

Being Republican doesn't necessarily equate to gun nuttery

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 11:22 AM

Recent polling in South Carolina is interesting because it's hard to think of a more conservative state, with religio-Republican base voters dominant in politics.

For that reason, Public Policy Polling of South Carolina struck me as relevant in Arkansas, particularly on guns. It mirrors what's been found in past Arkansas polling. Voters are open to some common-sense gun control measures, despite what the voting record of Republican legislators might indicate. For example:

There is 76/14 support for a law preventing domestic abusers from buying guns and 64/24 support for one making those people turn in any guns they currently own. In addition to overwhelming support from Democrats and independents, majorities of Republicans (71/17 and 54/31 respectively) support each of those measures as well. There's also a strong consensus among voters in the state (61/27) that guns should not be allowed on college campuses. 

The guns-on-campus question is particularly relevant. No college in Arkansas wants it. But if I had to bet whether Rep. Charlie Collins would be successful in cramming guns down the throats of colleges — local control, anyone? —  I'd bet on guns in this legislature.

A bare majority in South Carolina would like to fly the Confederate flag over the capitol, so Robert E. Lee idolators from Arkansas would feel right at home.

We wrote this morning on the highway contractors' plan to steal general revenues to build roads, rather than raise taxes. In South Carolina, they have a different idea. Allow casinos and devote the take to highways.

South Carolina may be a GOP state but on the issue of how to pay for road repairs voters are siding with the Democrats. By a 50/36 spread they support casinos in the state, and asked whether they'd rather road repairs were paid for by opening casinos or increasing the gas tax voters pick casinos by a 58/26 margin. There's a bipartisan consensus for casinos over the gas tax with Democrats (63/22), independents (58/28), and Republicans (53/28) all strongly preferring it.

And one more hot button moral issue:

South Carolinians are also dealing pretty well with the legalization of gay marriage in the state. Only 31% claim its being legal has had a negative impact on their lives with 9% saying it's had a positive impact and 60% saying it's had none at all. This is consistent with what we're finding even in states that at one time voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage in their constitutions- once it becomes legal few voters are finding it to be much of a burden on their lives. Even among Republicans 61% grant that gay marriage being legal has not negatively impacted them.

Should the Arkansas Supreme Court ever rule — and that ruling is for marriage equality at last — I predict the same non-event would occur in Arkansas — save for Steve Clark, Jerry Cox, Bart Hester, the Duggar clan, etc.

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