Polls Confirm What You Thought About the Politics of Terrorism and Guns

When President Obama delivered a speech on the San Bernardino attack from the Oval Office without having anything notable to say, many wondered why he bothered. The most common answer was that the Democrats’ polling on Obama’s response to the terrorist attack–equivocation on workplace violence, followed by a pivot to gun control–was terrible. This Rasmussen survey, released yesterday, tends to confirm that interpretation. A plurality of likely voters, 43%, rated Obama’s response to the San Bernardino attack as “poor.” Only 34% called it excellent or good, with the rest describing his response as fair. So nearly two-thirds considered Obama’s response to be fair or poor.

On the broader question of whether the San Bernardino massacre was mainly a terrorism problem (as conservatives believe) or a gun problem (as liberals insist), voters side with conservatives. Sixty-nine percent say San Bernardino was “primarily a terrorism issue,” while only 20% call it “primarily a gun control issue.”

So the Democrats’ concerted effort to recast a terrorist attack into something else didn’t work, which explains why Obama belatedly, and reluctantly, got on the bandwagon.