The NRA is running out of places to hide. Even a Fox News poll found people are losing faith in the group.
There could hardly be a more favorable place for the National Rifle Association to have its popularity tested. Instead, a new poll commissioned by Fox News found that the NRA’s approval has dipped to 49%, down from 56% in 2013. Negative views of the group have also risen to a “record high” of 45%. The NRA’s popularity is even dipping among gun owners, dropping to 67% from a high of 71% in 2013.
At the same time, 90% of gun-owning households support expanding background checks to include sales at gun shows and private sales.
The message is clear: Now that the March for Our Lives has gone down as one of the most widely attended protests in American history, the NRA is becoming less popular as it continues to stand in the way of near universally supported gun policy reforms.
Meanwhile, it’s been a great week for Planned Parenthood.
Fox News, other conservative media outlets, and virtually all Republican politicians love attacking Planned Parenthood. Yet, the Fox poll found that the health care services provider is very popular — perhaps even more popular than the NRA. Of those surveyed, 58% said they support Planned Parenthood. This sentiment has been mirrored in other polls, like this one from NBC News, which found that 52% of people support Planned Parenthood (while only 25% oppose it).
Beyond that, federal funding for Planned Parenthood remained in the 2018 budget just signed by President Donald Trump (whose harsh statements about the group have been fundraising gold).
On March 27, Trump tried to stir up a toothless commentary, pitting Planned Parenthood funding (which, again, he approved) against the public outcry about school shootings.
Here’s an idea… Lets take the $533 million given to planned parenthood and use it for arming/training teachers, hiring armed school guards and hardening schools overall.
RT if you agree!
— The Trump Train 🇺🇸 (@The_Trump_Train) March 27, 2018
But guess who was even less popular than the NRA in that Fox News poll? That’s right, Trump. Only 44% approved of his job performance in the poll.
These polls challenge the idea that the NRA is too popular defy.
The NRA remains arguably the most influential lobbying group in Washington, D.C. Gun ownership is increasingly divisive, but the NRA still claims to have 5 million members, which in turn fuels money to elected officials and candidates for state and federal office.
However, recent events show that the NRA is far from the invincible force it once appeared to be. If Planned Parenthood can be constantly challenged by lawmakers and other interest groups while remaining popular with a majority of voters, then the NRA must also stand up and face a public that increasingly wants reform and transparency.
Our democracy is strongest when power is checked — and gun policy is no different.
Planned Parenthood and other progressive organizations must constantly defend themselves against critics and those actively trying to defund them. Much of that criticism is unwarranted, but it’s also clear they have learned to not only survive but thrive under the microscope of public opinion. Whether it succeeds or fails, the NRA should be no different.