President Obama hit the emotional high of his State of the Union speech with a repetition of the “families of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, Tucson, Blacksburg…deserve a simple vote.” But, on close examination, Obama is not making a particular gun measure or even the package of Democratic proposals the firm object of his support. He is just arguing for a vote.
In fact, it’s Democrats in the Senate, including Majority Leader Reid, who are not anxious for a vote. Democrats defend 20 seats, and given the likely resistance in the House, they see little reason to go on the record for controversial measures, like the assault weapons ban.
The only proposal with overwhelming support is background checks (80% or more support). The assault weapons ban has only 50 percent, or slightly more, support in national polls. A ban on high capacity magazines is somewhat more popular (59% support). (CBS News, Feb. 2012).
Although Obama has initiated the permanent campaign with pollsters moving into the White House, few Republican congressmen are likely to be moved. So, it is assumed much of Obama’s second-term strategy has to do with creating issues for Democrats in the 2014 House election and not actually passing a particular bill.