Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (left) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) (right)
For months now, the Democratic polling firm, Public Policy Polling, has worked hand-in-glove with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an effort to pass gun control.
Now, Public Policy Polling (PPP) has issued a series of polls purporting to find cataclysmic consequences for senators in a wide variety of states who opposed the Toomey amendment.
The problem is that, like a cheap prostitute, PPP has left its lipstick all over the bed.
REASONS NUMBER 1-3: PPP differs violently from every other major polling organization.
(1) PPP Conflicts with CBS:
A CBS poll, released March 26, found that 50% of all respondents felt that gun laws should be "less strict" or "kept as they are." Only 47% felt that gun laws should be "more strict." This was down 10 points from those favoring stricter gun control in December. Obviously, Toomey-Schumer-Manchin is universally regarded as making gun laws "more strict," whether or not you agree with its provisions.
(2) PPP Conflicts with Quinnipiac:
In a poll released May 1, 2013, Quinnipiac asked: "Who do you think can do a better job of handling gun policy, the Democrats in Congress or the Republicans in Congress?" The results for all respondents was as follows:
No Diff 11%
Don't Know 10%
Thus, after the defeat of Toomey, which was almost universally and correctly attributed to Republicans, by a 4% margin, the American people favored the defeat of gun control over the passage of gun control.
This was true, even though the previous question had shown Americans, by one percent, favoring Democrats over Republicans with respect to immigration policy.
Furthermore, this was true, even though large and virulently anti-gun majorities in places like New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and California pointed to an even more dramatic support for Republicans in pro-gun states like Alaska, New Hampshire, Montana, Arizona, and Nevada.
(3) PPP Conflicts with Pew:
In a poll released on April 24, Pew Research Center found that, after the vote on Toomey-Schumer-Manchin, 20% of all respondents were "very happy" that gun control was defeated, as opposed to only 15% who were "angry."
Even adding in those who felt less strongly -- and were only "relieved" or "disappointed" -- fewer than half of all respondents (47%) were "angry" or "disappointed" by the defeat of Toomey. And the 47-39% margin in the poll results would fall within a 4% margin of error.
Finally, in states like Alaska, where both senators voted "no" on Toomey, 46% of respondents in the Pew poll were "happy" or "relieved" by the defeat of Toomey, whereas only 37% were "angry" or "disappointed."
Given that PPP, without any real evidence, is claiming a 16-point drop for Lisa Murkowski attributed to the Toomey vote, that positions them 25-points away from the less politically biased Pew results.
REASON NUMBER 4: PPP purports to measure changes in opinion since October (January in the case of Flake), and most of the changes in opinion since October are not due to gun control.
Obama won the election, and he got a bounce out of that. Obama and Congress fought it out over the "fiscal cliff," and Congress is perceived to have run away with its tail between its legs with respect to that fight. Ditto, the GOP's opposition to relief for Hurricane Sandy. This was followed by a high-profile battle over the sequester. In addition, the continuing fight over immigration colored the American people's opinion. And gun control, in terms of moving public opinion, is, at most, a tiny factor.
If any evidence for this is needed, consider that, according to CBS, in January, 2011, Americans favored less strict gun laws or the status quo over "more strict" gun laws by a margin of 48%-47%. Now, those figures, according to the same pollster, are 50%-47%.
(5) REASON NUMBER 5: PPP fraudulently created the impression with respondents that it was asking about checks at "Gun Shows and the Internet" -- and then sold the results as support for either "Universal Background Checks" or provisions of Toomey which went far beyond Gun Shows and the Internet.
What people remember about the PPP question is the last five words: "gun shows and the internet."
For months, however, PPP polling results have been touted by MSNBC as evidence of support for "universal background checks" -- which is fraudulent.
(6) REASON NUMBER 6: Toomey-Schumer-Manchin is much broader than "Gun Shows and the Internet."
Under section 202, Toomey applies to any transfer that takes place "pursuant to an advertisement, posting, display or other public listing on the Internet, in a publication, at a forum, OR in any manner accessible to the general public by the transferor of his intent to transfer..." the firearm. [Emphasis added]
No one could say with certainty what any of that language means. But it is certainly not unreasonable to suggest that it extends to posting a sign on your lawn. And it almost certainly covers a posting on a bulletin board or in a church newsletter.
(7) REASON NUMBER 7: PPP's "robocall" technology is worthless when it is applied to anything other than simple questions.
The technology works when you ask whether the respondent is supporting Obama or Romney.
But when you have a complex question being asked by a machine concerning a issue on which respondents have nuanced opinions or no opinions, and the only option they have is to push "1" or "2," the answers are worthless. Even Chuck Todd of MSNBC has admitted as much on April 30: “I'm always a little leery of the robo-poll polling.... I think I'm a little concerned at how you make it a ‘press one’ or ‘press two’ issue with a small questionnaire.”
(8) REASON NUMBER 8: Having been forced to give a worthless answer about whether they support a legislative proposal which is different from what the Senate voted on, respondents are then corralled by PPP into answering that their fake opinion is not irrelevant to their electoral choice.
PPP then "reveals" that their senator ignored their electoral wishes, and asks if they're going to do anything about it. When I debated in high school, we called this a "leading question."
(9) REASON NUMBER 9: In fact, PPP's characterization of each Republican Senators' Vote is even more fraudulent than that.
PPP says that Jeff Flake "vote[d] against requiring background checks." And, in the process, it implies -- even states -- that Flake voted to repeal background checks for the majority of gun transactions for which they are currently required. This is absolute fraud.
Pollsters Joel Bennenson and Katie Connolly crunched the numbers and reported in the New York Times (April 6, 2013) that most respondents on "background checks questions" believe they are voting for the status quo when they support background checks.
By implying -- or even stating -- that Flake favors repealing the Brady Law entirely, PPP is engaging in a particularly corrupt form of manipulation.
(10) REASON NUMBER 10: PPP and MAIG polling contradicts everything Senators have heard from their constituents.
According to PPP and MAIG, 94% of all North Dakotans support the Toomey-Schumer-Manchin provision.
Yet, calls jammed Heidi Heitkamp's phone lines, and they were 7-to-1 in opposition to Toomey, according to Heitkamp. And North Dakota doesn't have that many people. So that notion that the in-state callers were just a small subset of the population is pure fiction.
The same is true with most swing senators. Turnout at Ayotte's town halls, for example, is reportedly predominantly pro-gun, notwithstanding the impression you would get from the biased TV coverage. And, when you exclude the anti-gunners bussed in from Connecticut with Bloomberg-funded pre-printed signs, the pro-gun turnout is even more dramatic.
On April 30, Chuck Todd pointed out, correctly, that PPP is starkly conflicting with senators' own internal polling.
(11) REASON NUMBER 11: With respect to Alaska, PPP's results make no internal sense.
Supposedly Begich dropped six points; Murkowski dropped 16%.
But Begich voted pro-gun with respect to both cloture on the motion to proceed and on the Toomey amendment. Murkowski voted the same.
So, if Alaskans are punishing "pro-gun" behavior, why does Murkowski do 10 points worse than Begich?
(12) REASON NUMBER 12: Flake's drop is obviously due to something other than guns, according to PPP's own findings.
PPP hocks Flake's supposed 32% approval rating for the proposition that he has been mortally wounded by background checks.
But, if you look behind PPP's own numbers, Flake's unpopularity is due to the fact that 44% of Arizona Republicans either disapprove of Flake or are "not sure." This, a half year after Flake won easily with the overwhelming support of Republicans.
And why do close to 50% of the Arizona GOP have problems with Flake?
The answer is Flake's voluble support for an immigration amnesty bill which is anathema to state Republicans.
If Flake wants to restore his numbers, he can stop playing footsie with Chuck Schumer's proposal to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.
(13) REASON NUMBER 13: PPP has fundamentally misread New Hampshire.
In fairness, the notoriously biased UNH/WMUR poll has done the same -- painting the state as deep blue, until Republicans, in 2010, took almost 300 (out of 400) House seats, 19 (out of 24) Senate seats, all five seats on the executive council, both U.S. House seats, and the U.S. Senate seat (by 23 points).
And, although the pendulum swung partway back in the presidential election year, the state Senate is still in Republican control, and the state House is only marginally Democrat.
Not surprisingly, PPP's attempt to portray the popular Ayotte as being "underwater" comes as her positives have only dropped four points -- within the margin of error.
(14) REASON NUMBER 14: PPP's polling is oblivious to the Intensity Factor.
PPP forces people to take an issue on which they have no real opinion and push "button #1" or "button #2." Now that exercise, together with a couple of carefully staged media events, is being sold for the proposition that there is an angry national uprising, even though all reputable polling refutes this.
But, after Columbine, reputable polls found that 68% of Americans wanted to see gun control legislation passed. Yet, because of varying intensity and regional differences, pro-gun factions in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and the Florida Panhandle proceeded to deliver the White House to George W. Bush.
Reliable polling now shows support for gun control legislation to be over 20% below what it was when the pro-gun movement delivered the White House to George Bush.
(15) REASON NUMBER 15: PPP's polling seems to suggest there is no regional difference in gun attitudes.
According to PPP and MAIG's polling, 94% of North Dakotans favor background checks. This is higher than in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, which, in turn, are indistinguishable in the PPP and MAIG polls from Virginia and Florida.
One of the MSNBC commentators had it right when he said that, when all of the polls are at 92%, the polls are meaningless.
(16) REASON NUMBER 16: PPP and MAIG's findings that 70-90% of GOA and NRA members support the Toomey-Schumer-Manchin provision are in stark contrast with our own polling.
If PPP and MAIG had not tried to tell us how our own members feel, their numbers might have been a little more difficult to refute.
But both organizations conducted their own polls of their own members.
NRA conducted a scientific poll and found that only 5% of their members supported universal background checks.
GOA conducted an informal poll in which 24,866 of its members actually voted. GOA found that only 4% of its members supported "Obama's universal background checks" -- a figure almost identical to NRA's. Note that, except for the addition of the word "Obama's," we used Bloomberg's lexicon in describing the Toomey proposal.
(17) REASON NUMBER 17: PPP is a Democratic firm that has obviously worked hand-in-glove with Michael Bloomberg in determining what states to poll and what questions to ask.
Interestingly, PPP chose states as disparate as Alaska and New Hampshire based on whether Bloomberg had targeted the states' senators as likely "switches."
Even more interesting, the senators who have now been targeted for a one-year bash-o-thon put the targets on their own backs by foolishly voting for cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 649 -- and then playing "Hamlet" until close to the vote on Toomey.
As it turned out, they succumbed to the siren song of "They deserve a vote" -- only to realize, sadly and belatedly, that what the sirens really meant was "They deserve a YES vote." Note that Kelly Ayotte has gotten not one ounce of credit from Democrats for her foolish vote on cloture on the motion to proceed.
(18) REASON NUMBER 18: PPP has now gone on MSNBC in "Rah Rah" sessions promoting gun control.
No reputable polling firm would do that.
(19) REASON NUMBER 19: While threatening Flake in 2018, PPP fails to acknowledge that, as a result of guns, Democrats are about to lose the Senate.
Flake, Heitkamp, and Heller aren't up until 2018. Ayotte and Murkowski aren't up until 2016.
The people who are up: Begich, Pryor, Baucus (retiring), Rockefeller (retiring), Johnson (retiring), Hagan, Landrieu, Harkin (retiring), Udall, Warner, Shaheen, and Franken. And all of these seats stand a pretty good chance of being Republican pick-ups as a result of the near-psychotic pursuit by the Far Left of gun control.
And the only Republican who is up in 2014 and who comes from a remotely blue state is Collins, who voted anti-gun.
Incidentally, the fact that the Left is now attacking viciously and threatening to primary Begich and Pryor -- the two senators who did show some modicum of survival instinct -- suggests that they just don't care that Obama is about to face a Republican House and a Republican Senate.
(20) REASON NUMBER 20: Hatred of guns will be a useless issue in 2014, and will be forgotten by 2016.
The rough roll-in of ObamaCare is going to engulf anyone who thinks they can use anti-gun commercials to defeat Republicans. The pro-gunners, on the other hand, will turn out in record numbers.
And the Bloomberg commercials? We will just run ads showing tapes of Gerrald Nadler talking about "exploiting" Newtown, Julian Epstein screaming about "breaking the back of the gun ... lobby," and Ed Rendell waxing about how "lucky" they are that so many children died.