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Media Mistake GOP Midterm Victories As Evidence The U.S. Is Now A “Center-Right Country”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 7th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Media Mistake GOP Midterm Victories As Evidence The U.S. Is Now A “Center-Right Country”

Media are promoting Republican gains in the House and Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections as evidence that the country has shifted to the “center-right” on political issues, despite the fact that ballot initiatives and national polling reveal broad support for progressive positions.

Media Claim GOP Victories Indicate The Country Leans “Center-Right” 

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota: Do GOP Wins Suggest That The Country Is More RightLeaning Than Some Pundits Might Have You Believe? On the November 5 edition of CNN’s New Day, host Alisyn Camerota asked Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) if GOP wins in the midterm elections indicate that “the country is more right-leaning than some pundits might have you believe.” [CNN, New Day

Kaiser, 2014

[Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/24/14]

Reproductive Rights

Colorado And South Dakota Rejected Personhood Amendments. As Mother Jones reported, on Tuesday Colorado voters rejected an amendment that would have defined a fetus as a person under the state’s criminal code, and North Dakota opted against a ballot initiative asking if the state constitution should protect “the inalienable right to life at any stage of development.” In 2012, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) described how personhood amendments like these “erode women’s basic rights” by denying access to “contraception, fertility treatments, pregnancy termination, and other essential medical procedures.” [Mother Jones, 11/5/14] [American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 02/10/12]

More Americans Identify With Democrats On Abortion Rights. An October Washington Post poll asked respondents, “Which political party is closer to your own opinion on the issue of abortion, the (Democrats) or the (Republicans)?” Forty-eight percent said they sided with the Democratic Party, while 33 percent answered the Republican Party. [Washington Post, 10/19/14]

Support For Gun Safety Measures

Washington State Voted To Require Background Checks On All Gun Sales. A November 5 MSNBC.com article noted that expanded background checks passed easily while a competing ballot initiative promoted by gun lobby activists that would have weakened background checks was defeated by a majority of voters:

Gun control definitively won in Tuesday’s elections — in Washington, at least.

In the only state where a gun issue was directly on a ballot this week, Washington residents passed Initiative 594, the measure that will require criminal background checks on all firearms sales and transfers in the state, including at gun shows and on the Internet. The proposal, more commonly referred to as “I-594,” gained 60% of voter support, according to the NBC News Election Unit.

A rival campaign, Initiative 591, would have blocked the implementation of background checks, if passed. But more than half — 55% — of the state’s residents rejected the competing measure, which was backed by the gun lobby.

This year marked the first major election cycle since 26 people, including 20 first-graders, were shot to death in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012. The outcome on Tuesday made Washington the seventh state to require background checks on all gun sales, and the fifth (after Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, and New York) to do so since the shooting inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. [MSNBC.com, 11/5/14]

Governors That Signed Gun Safety Measures Into Law After Newtown Were Reelected. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was reelected after signing a “number of bills that limited magazine purchases and beefed up background checks, which prompted a recall vote against other state legislators,” as Politico noted. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy was also reelected. As The New York Times described, his “stature grew” after Newtown and subsequent legislation championed by Malloy that banned assault weapons and strengthened background checks. [Politico11/5/14] [The New York Times11/5/14]

Ninety-Two Percent Of Voters Support Universal Background Checks. As The Hill reported, according to a poll conducted earlier this year by Quinnipac University, “ninety-two percent of voters, including 92 percent of gun owners and 86 percent of Republicans, support background checks prior to all gun sales.” [The Hill, 7/3/14]

Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Majority Of Americans Support Gay Marriage. An October ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 56 percent of Americans supported the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow gay marriage to move forward in several states: 

Overall, 56 percent of Americans support the court’s action, while 38 percent oppose it – exactly matching opinions on whether or not gay marriage should be legal, asked in an ABC/Post poll in June. These results reflect the public’s dramatic shift in support of gay marriage the past decade.

By declining to hear several appeals, the high court cleared the way for gay marriage in five states – Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Three others in the same jurisdictions followed suit (Colorado, North Carolina and West Virginia), and gay marriage bans in three additional states, Idaho, Nevada and Alaska, were rejected by other courts in the past week. [ABC News/Washington Post Poll10/17/14]

Gallup: Nearly Eight In 10 Young Adults Support Gay Marriage. According to a May Gallup poll, nearly eight in 10 young adults, ages 18 to 29, support gay marriage, and overall support for same-sex marriage is at an all-time high:

Gallup, 2014

[Gallup, 5/21/14]

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