Dems Shouldn't Be Afraid of Gun Issue
One piece of conventional wisdom from the 2000 campaign was that the issue of gun control hurt Al Gore in swing states and the South. Even though it is a given that Karl Rove and the GOP will try and use wedge issues again in 2004, especially in those same states, two poll findings, one on guns and one on civil unions, should be analyzed by the Democrats now.
In a surprise finding buried in the recent CBS News poll, a majority of those polled felt that gun laws should be made more strict. Among all of those polled, there was a sixteen point margin (51%-35%) for those who wanted tougher gun control laws as compared to those who wanted the laws left the same. Even among independents, there was still a twelve point margin (48%-36%) in favor of toughening up the laws. It should be noted that this same CBS Poll was oversampled for the South, where even 33% of those polled felt that gun control laws neeeded to be strengthened.
Secondly, the same poll found that by a fourteen point margin (39%-53%), a majority of those polled were against a civil unions law, indicating that Dean will have an uphill battle against Rove on this, should he be the nominee.