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Thursday, April 18, 2013

VIDEO: It’s more popular than kittens, baseball and apple pie.

Americans want Congress to require universal background checks for gun buys
By Will Collette

One of the several specific new gun regulation proposals to come out of the December 14 murders of little kids in Newtown, CT is to require universal background checks anytime a gun is sold or changes ownership. Of all the proposals for new, sensible gun control measures, it is by far the most popular, favored by 90% of the public, although it now seems unlikely that it will pass the Senate never mind the Republican-controlled House.

President Obama expressed surprise at that high figure and commented, “"How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything?"

Some pollsters thought that was a very good question and put it to the test. They asked a 1000 person polling sample to rank their support for universal background checks against a list of five other things in American life that we all assume have very high public support.

For example, what percentage of people like kittens? You’d think it would be a monster number, but only 76% said they like kittens.

Incidentally, we hardly EVER do cat videos on Progressive Charlestown[1], but here’s one just to show that we’re not rigid on the subject: 

OK, now that you're back from watching the dozen or so other cat videos linked to the one above, here's a surprise. The only thing Americans like better than universal background checks is….ice cream, at 93%. Support for ice cream cut across all age groups, political affiliations and classes.

But apple pie failed with support from only 83% with its support dropping to 70% among adults under the age of 30.

Only 67% like baseball. I’m not one of them cuz it’s just too boring.

On the fifth item, laws prohibiting child labor, only 71% of the respondents said they liked these laws.

Despite the light-hearted nature of the poll, the underlying message is pretty serious. As President Obama said, it’s incredibly rare for 90% of Americans to agree about anything. 

Hell, in Charlestown, there would probably be a 60-40 split on what day of the week it is.

But when 90% of Americans say they favor a basic, commonsense measure like universal background checks before you can buy a gun – and they don’t get it, as seems likely to be the case or get a drastically watered down version – what does that say about American democracy?

Now, we will need to see if that 90% support will translate into results at the ballot box.

[1] Except when Tom wants to show a bad cat.