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Gender Gun Gap?
How MMM is Failing to Make this the Year of the Trigger Lock

by Sean Oberle (dischord)

This was supposed to be the year that the soccer mom drove her minivan to Washington – the election where the gender gap came to bite the NRA and the angry white male on the behind. So what’s happening? While there certainly are third party presidential candidates whose views on guns are more pro-rights than are George Bush’s, of the two real contenders, Bush would stand a lot more to lose from charges that he is soft on “protecting our children from guns.” 

  • Bush signed the Texas concealed carry law, and the anti-gun forces have been working hard to turn that into a disadvantage.

  • He takes the NRA line that the real issue is failed enforcement of existing laws rather than a need for new laws.

  • He takes the NRA line that he “supports” trigger locks – just not anything mandated by the government.

  • He explicitly parts ways with Gore’s MMM-approved positions, such as licensing.

Now, while some RKBA advocates think Bush’s position (and the NRA’s) compromises too much, the fact remains that if American women truly were primed to exercise their voting muscle to demand licensing, registration, renewed waiting periods and all the other stuff then Bush would be in trouble – at least among women.

So what’s going on with the gender gap? The answer is that while it is true that Gore leads Bush among women, what’s rarely reported is that the gender gap is actually a racial gap.

According to one typically accurate poll, Battleground 2000, Gore does, indeed, hold a lead among women, typically 9 to 11 points day-to-day. Bush is taking about 35%-38% of women, while Gore beats him with 44%-47%.
(See – you need a .pdf reader.)

But when you break it down by white women vs. minority women, a different picture emerges. Gore’s lead among minority women is overwhelming. He gets in the 60s and occasionally in the 70s, while Bush is in the teens. However, the two are tied among the much bigger voting block – white women – each attracting about 41% to 44%. One day Bush is up by a point; the next Gore. Some days they are tied.

This tie among white women is significant when considering that faux-grassroots event, the MMM, and its effect on this election. The Mother’s Day DNC rally was – and the organization is – essentially a white soccer mom event. Take a look at the
photos and videos of the march. Crowd shots show sea of white faces. The organizers and officers are white forty-somethings. Oh, you’ll see some photos of minority participants (See, but those are all closeups of a few people. The crowd shots are as Wonder Bread as the Cleavers (Beaver’s family, not Eldridge’s).

The bottom line is that this supposed groundswell of maternal anger “tapped into” by MMM has gotten Gore a mere equal share of a demographic with which his party supposedly holds an edge before factoring in the gun issue. (And on minority women, I doubt that Bush or any Republican would do any better regardless of a stance on guns.)

We’ve seen some frustration from the MMM home office over impotence in making their gun-control litmus test a defining campaign issue. A few days before the second presidential debate, the group scolded the debate commission for there being no gun control questions in the first debate.

My first reaction was to ask why Jim Lehrer should have focused on guns in the first debate. I agree with his choice to wait until the second debate to bring it up. As an election issue, guns are polling in the middle or lower half of relative importance for most Americans. A dozen or more issues – from the economy to education to character to national defense – score higher. The questions Lehrer lobbed at the candidates reflected the most important questions to the greatest number of people.

But even in the absence of an explicit gun control query, the fact was that despite the Moms’ finger-wagging upbraiding that the issue got squelched, or at least ignored, Mr. Gore had ample opportunity to bring it up. It’s not as if Gore is a candidate who adheres strictly to the topic if ignoring the question or going off on a tangent would benefit him. 

He easily could have turned many of the questions – from the economy to education to healthcare – into: Well, one of the things we need to do first is enact common sense gun laws so all these shootings don’t. A) undermine our kids’ ability to learn B) keep the nation’s healthcare costs sky high, C) divert money from saving social security, paying down the debt and targeted tax cuts, D) insert favorite issue here with appropriate gun control spin.

He didn’t do that.

More significantly, when Lehrer did ask about gun control in the second debate, Gore, in my opinion, went on the defensive. He said he didn’t want to limit the rights, not only of “hunters and sportsmen” but of, as he put it “homeowners.” He did not mention Bush’s supposed weakness on the concealed carry issue. (I think it’s a strength.)

In fact, when you compare his cautious, defensive debate answer to his official campaign position which reads like Sarah
Brady’s Christmas list (, he retreated from a chance to trumpet it.

Wow. Interesting.

Why did he pass up the opportunity? The answer is that Americans give the edge to the NRA-Bush position. According to Zogby polling firm (Oct. 8), Americans agree with Bush’s gun stance by 57%-35%. (See Earlier polls by different firms showed a 42%-39% Bush advantage in September according to Rasmussen ( and a 46%-37% Bush advantage in July according to Gallup. (See

Now, you cannot draw conclusions about trends with numbers from different polling firms, and I’m giving them to you only to illustrate that no matter when voters answer the question or who asks it (or how), they side with Bush and the NRA.

More importantly, desire for gun control is not that big of a wedge issue, while opposition to it is a wedge issue. In fact, Pew Research (Oct. 8) found that among voters who choose Gore, only 1% do so primarily or solely because of his position on guns,
while 8% of Bush voters choose the Texas governor for his stance on guns. (See

What we see is that being pro gun control hasn’t turned into a big political capital this election.

In the end, I believe that the marching moms actually will benefit Bush. Their theatrics back in May and the accompanying media gush fest scared the you-know-what out of gun owners – including women gun owners.

In fact, gun owners are so roiled up about a Gore presidency that they are deserting the hardline pro-gun parties – Libertarian and Constitutionalist – just to keep Gore out of the policy making and judge appointing seat. More are waiting to see how Bush is polling in their states come election day. If Bush is winning by a comfortable margin, they’ll vote third party. If not, they’ll vote Bush. They’re more concerned about keeping Gore out than about “sending a message to the big parties.”

I’m not advocating that tactic, necessarily. I’m just calling what I see.

Sean Oberle is a featured writer with whose archive is kept here: permitted and encouraged. Please say you saw it first on


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