One Party Wants To See Angry Uneducated-- Very Uneducated-- Men Running Around With Assault Weapons-- And One Doesn't

We had townies where I went to school, working class white people who hated that the potato fields had been plowed under, replaced by a sprawling university the changed the complexion of their rural county inexorably. They were always pissed off and sometimes that would result in violence. I also recall how angry construction workers always seems to be about college kids dissing the war against Vietnam, dissing Nixon, sporting long hair or pretty girlfriends. Sometimes that would result in violence too. These weren't people who thought highly of education-- although I imagined that they hoped their own children would get an opportunity to drag themselves out of poverty and ignorance through college. Maybe, maybe not.

This week, the Pew Research Center released a paper, The Growing Partisan Divide In Views Of Higher Education by Kim Parker. Spoiler: Republicans hate education. Normal people favor it. "Americans," wrote Parker, "see value in higher education-- whether they graduated from college or not. Most say a college degree is important, if not essential, in helping a young person succeed in the world, and college graduates themselves say their degree helped them grow and develop the skills they needed for the workplace. While fewer than half of today’s young adults are enrolled in a two-year or four-year college, the share has risen steadily over the past several decades. And the economic advantages college graduates have over those without a degree are clear and growing. Even so, there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction-- even suspicion-- among the public about the role colleges play in society, the way admissions decisions are made and the extent to which free speech is constrained on college campuses. And these views are increasingly linked to partisanship."

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that only half of American adults think colleges and universities are having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days. About four-in-ten (38%) say they are having a negative impact-- up from 26% in 2012.

The share of Americans saying colleges and universities have a negative effect has increased by 12 percentage points since 2012. The increase in negative views has come almost entirely from Republicans and independents who lean Republican. From 2015 to 2019, the share saying colleges have a negative effect on the country went from 37% to 59% among this group. Over that same period, the views of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic have remained largely stable and overwhelmingly positive.

...Two additional Pew Research Center surveys underscore the partisan gap in views about higher education. In late 2018, 84% of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party said they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in college and university professors to act in the best interests of the public. Only about half (48%) of Republicans and Republican leaners said the same. In fact, 19% of Republicans said they have no confidence at all in college professors to act in the public interest. And in early 2019, 87% of Democrats-- but fewer than half (44%) of Republicans-- said colleges and universities are open to a wide range of opinions and viewpoints.

A 2018 Pew Research Center survey took a deeper dive into the reasons for these shifting views. The survey first asked whether the higher education system in the U.S. is generally going in the right or wrong direction. A majority of Americans (61%) say it’s going in the wrong direction. Republicans and Republican leaners are significantly more likely to express this view than Democrats and Democratic leaners (73% vs. 52%).

by Victor Juhasz

Among those who say higher education is headed in the wrong direction, some of the reasons why they think this is the case differ along party lines. Majorities of Republicans (77%) and Democrats (92%) say high tuition costs are a major reason why they believe colleges and universities are headed in the wrong direction.

Democrats who see problems with the higher education system cite rising costs more often than other factors as a major reason for their concern, while Republicans are just as likely to point to other issues as reasons for their discontent. Roughly eight-in-ten Republicans (79%) say professors bringing their political and social views into the classroom is a major reason why the higher education system is headed in the wrong direction (only 17% of Democrats say the same). And three-quarters of Republicans (vs. 31% of Democrats) point to too much concern about protecting students from views they might find offensive as a major reason for their views. In addition, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say students not getting the skills they need to succeed in the workplace is a major reason why the higher education system is headed in the wrong direction (73% vs. 56%).

There are significant age gaps among Republicans in these views. Older Republicans are much more likely than their younger counterparts to point to ideological factors, such as professors bringing their views into the classroom and too much concern about political correctness on campus. For example, 96% of Republicans ages 65 and older who think higher education is headed in the wrong direction say professors bringing their views into the classroom is a major reason for this. Only 58% of Republicans ages 18 to 34 share that view.

Guns have been more divisive along partisan lines than higher education but there's some move recently of that divide narrowing. Yesterday the Washington Post reported that Public Opinion Strategies, a top Republican polling firm shows that nearly three-quarters of suburban women want to see stricter gun control. No politicians in his or her right mind wants to be standing in opposition to that wave. The survey was conducted on five suburban House districts:

CO-06 Jason Crow (New Dem)- D+2
KS-03 Sharice Davids (New Dem)- R+4
NC-09 vacant- R+8
PA-01 Brian Fitzpatrick (R)- R+1
VA-10 Rob Wittman (R)- R+8

Results among women registered to vote. They don't like Trump:

They plan to vote for a Democrat in the 2020 congressional cycle. I wonder how they'll feel if they figure out Pelosi is slow-walking David Cicilline's bill to ban the sale of assault weapons, even though 200 Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors and even though it has its first Republican co-sponsor (Peter King) with others saying they will vote for it. Why would Pelosi do something like that? About 35 Democrats-- political cowards who are afraid to take a position one way or the other-- don't want to be forced to vote on it and she is catering to them, knowing that the urgency of the issue will fade as the immediacy of the massacres in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton diminishes.

72 percent said they think gun laws should be stricter, compared to four percent who said they should be less strict and 23 percent who said they should be kept as they are now.
55 percent said they think stricter gun laws would help prevent gun violence.
90 percent support requiring universal background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other private sales, which would require all gun owners to file with a national firearms registry.
88 percent said they would support requiring a 48-hour waiting period between the purchase of a firearm and when the buyer can take possession of that gun.
84 percent back a national red flag law that would permit law enforcement to temporarily retain firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.

76 percent said they would ban the purchase and use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons like the AK-47 and the AR-15.
And 72 percent would support banning the sale and possession of high-capacity or extended ammunition magazines, which allow guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before needing to be reloaded.

The Main Street Partnership, a mainstream conservative Republican House caucus which doesn't admit GOP Nazis, commissioned the poll. Five of it's members cosponsored the background checks bill that passed the House in February: Peter King (NY) Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Fred Upton (MI), Chris Smith (NJ) and Brian Mast (FL). The woman who runs the caucus for them Sarah Chamberlain: "Suburban women have made it clear that they are ready for Congress to address the gun violence epidemic plaguing this country. Our mission is to equip our members of Congress with pertinent information like this polling so that they may best address the needs of their suburban districts by crafting appropriate legislative responses."

James Hohmann:

“You think Donald Trump Jr. and the NRA, Stephen Miller, Mick Mulvaney and Mike Pence are going to let him be the first president to restrict gun ownership?” said a Democratic congressional aide involved in the talks. “I'm not their political adviser, but their strategy is to get as many base voters as they can. ... A congresswoman got shot in the head. Babies were slaughtered. If we couldn't do it then, we won't do it now.”

Arizona is emerging as a new front in the gun wars: TheAssociated Press’s Julie Pace said Sunday on CNN’s “Inside Politics” that this could be a top issue in the Senate race there next year. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) will likely face Democrat Mark Kelly, the husband of Gabby Giffords, who survived a shooting in Tucson in 2011. Pace noted that McSally has been softening her tone somewhat and has expressed an openness to some new gun legislation. “Republicans like McSally know that their success in 2020 may hinge on their ability to hold some of these suburbs that have traditionally voted for Republicans but have really started to move away from the party in the Trump era,” Pace said. “A lot of Republicans we talk to say that this issue, gun control, could shift that trend even further away from the party.”  McSally is one of the four GOP senators who are members of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which commissioned the poll.

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