NEWS AND OPINION:
Many people can’t wait for 2020 to end, billing it as a lousy year all around for multiple reasons. In the greater picture, however, the combination of troubling events such as social unrest and the coronavirus pandemic fostered record-breaking gun sales in the U.S., according to several industry sources. It also has influenced public opinion on gun control.
“In the absence of a high-profile mass shooting in the U.S. in 2020 and amid the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest related to racial justice issues and the contentious presidential election campaign, Americans are less likely than they have been since 2016 to call for increased gun control,” reports a new Gallup poll.
“Americans’ support for a ban on the possession of handguns, at 25%, is near the lowest on record in Gallup’s 40-year trend. The latest reading, which is down 18 points from its 1991 high, is a slight decline from last year’s 29%. Currently, 74% of U.S. adults say such a ban should not be put in place,” the pollster says.
The poll found that 57% of U.S. adults now favor stricter laws on gun sales, down 7 percentage points since last year.
The partisan difference in opinion, however, has never been larger.
“The current 22% of Republicans favoring stricter laws for gun sales is the lowest for the group over the past 20 years and represents a 14-percentage point drop since 2019. Meanwhile, the percentages of Democrats and independents calling for more gun control are near the highest recorded by Gallup since 2000. The 63-percentage point gap between Republicans and Democrats is the highest on record over the past two decades,” Gallup notes.
Find the numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end
WORD OF MOUTH
The year is also standout for a completely unrelated reason. The election, political division, social unrest and other factors are taking a toll on teeth. No, really. Dentists are seeing a surge of patients with teeth fractures and jaw problems — an uptick rooted in anxiety caused by the election.
“One patient had been grinding her teeth for three days straight,” says Dr. Todd Bertman, a New York City-based dentist in private practice — and one who also has worked the emergency room.
“It’s by no means an isolated incident. I’ve never seen anything like this,” he observes.
Dr. Bertman also reports an uptick of patients with teeth fractures, which he is attributing to “election-related anxiety.”
And Dr. Bertman’s simple remedy — other than being aware when politics is turning things into a genuine grind: Get that 6-month checkup.
Yes, yes — most of the known universe is now aware that former President Barack Obama has a new 758-page memoir which has just arrived on a shimmering cloud of glowing media coverage.
In the lead up to the book’s formal release on Tuesday, Mr. Obama’s press interviews have not been very kind to President Trump so far — a disappointing but predictable occurrence. But this practice is also a given, with a lengthy history. Let us journey back to the 2016 election and examine the outgoing president’s behavior at the time.
Kristine Marsh, an analyst for Newsbusters.org, points out that Mr. Obama did not follow the civility protocols of most outgoing presidents. He waited “only 11 days” after Mr. Trump was elected to attack him — and continued to do so in every year that followed, according to her analysis of the phenomenon. She also warns of some media meddling, citing an example in Mr. Obama’s much ballyhooed appearance Sunday on “60 Minutes.”
“Midway through Obama alarmingly pushed for the media and tech companies to ‘work with’ Biden to sort out ‘truth from fiction’ — and we all know what that means,” Ms. Marsh writes, including a direct quote from Mr. Obama’s CBS appearance as evidence.
“I do think that a new president can set a new tone. That’s not going to solve all the gridlock in Washington. I think we’re going to have to work with the media and with the tech companies to find ways to inform the public better about the issues and to bolster the standards that ensure we can separate truth from fiction,” Mr. Obama advised in the interview.
NOT YOUR GRANDFATHER’S USA
Even the most astute observers are confused and concerned over the unresolved presidential election. But that does not mean they aren’t taking a stand on election propriety.
“I have no opinion on whether the election was stolen by the Biden campaign or not. I don’t think there is any way to know, on the current evidence, whether, if only legal votes were counted, and each voter voted only once, Donald Trump or Joe Biden actually won the election. I do know that if the United States is to avoid banana republic status, we need to institute more secure and reliable election procedures. No more ballot harvesting, no more millions of mail-in votes, and some reasonable attention paid to the machines and software that ultimately count the votes,” writes John Hinderaker, founder of Powerlineblog.com.
“One more thing: liberals are quick to dub anything they don’t like a conspiracy theory. But four years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined that top officials of the FBI and the CIA would collaborate with Hillary Clinton‘s campaign to propagate lies in order to try to swing the election to her, or failing that, to disable the incoming administration of the candidate that they didn’t favor,” he continues.
“That scandal has greatly expanded my, and our, understanding of what may be possible. This isn’t your grandfather’s United States of America,” Mr. Hinderaker concludes.
POLL DU JOUR
• 74% of U.S. adults say the possession of handguns “should not be banned”: 89% of Republicans, 77% of independents and 58% of Democrats agree.
• 70% of women and 79% of men also agree.
• 57% of U.S. adults say laws covering the sale of firearms should be “more strict”; 22% of Republicans, 60% of independents and 85% of Democrats agree.
• 67% of women and 46% of men also agree.
• 34% say the laws should be “kept as they are”; 62% of Republicans, 28% of independents and 13% of Democrats agree.
• 29% of women and 39% of men also agree.
• 9% say they should be “less strict”; 16% of Republicans, 11% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.
• 4% of women and 15% of men also agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,035 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 15 and released Monday.
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