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Election Update: Romney Takes First Lead in Electoral College; NRA Steps Up Ads

Remember all the pundits who said the debates wouldn’t matter? That the percentage of undecided voters was the lowest it’s been in a century? Well, they were wrong. This is the year the debates actually mattered.

Romney received an almost immediate 12-point boost following the first debate. His momentum slowed following the second debate, which most consider a draw, but the race has continued to slowly slip away from President Obama.

According to polls, Romney has increased his lead in the overall popular vote. He’s closed a 26-point gap to take the lead in favorability ratings. He leads in key swing states including Florida and Virginia, and he’s closed the gaps in Wisconsin and Ohio. One shocking poll even has him leading in Pennsylvania, which a Republican hasn’t won since 1988. Most dramatically of all, for the first time ever, some forecasts show Romney leading in the Electoral College.

What impact are sportsmen having on the race? According to our polls and others, the issue of gun control is having a big impact among our demographic–hunters and shooters, especially, are leaning heavily toward Romney, who earlier this week announced the Sportsmen for Romney coalition.

In recent days the gun rights issue, particularly in regards to so-called “assault weapons,” has taken center stage. The candidates addressed it directly during the second presidential debate, and gun rights groups have struck while the iron is hot. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reiterated its support for Romney. And the National Rifle Association has stepped up its anti-Obama TV ads, flooding such swing states as Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin with them. The ads seek to use Obama’s very words in the debate against him. The NRA’s endorsement of Romney has not been without controversy, given Romney’s past flirtations with gun control. Here’s how NRA responds to such criticism:

So, are sportsmen making the difference in these latest polling numbers? Perhaps, but the biggest shift remains among women. Obama had a huge lead among female voters, but they’re now split 50/50.

With just a few weeks left in this race, who do you think is the best overall choice for sportsmen?

4 Responses
  • John

    How can the NRA subport someone that has been all about banning Guns in His Own State and here is the prof.

    Mitt Romney on Gun Control
    Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent

    Newt Gingrich’s gun, crime & drug issues compared to Mitt’s
    Is Newt Gingrich the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney in the GOP primary? If you’d like to say Yes, you’d better focus on domestic issues like those listed below. OnTheIssues’ paperback book explores how Mitt’s domestic issue stances differ from Newt’s, and where they are similar. Newt & Mitt do disagree on some issues in this list, such as gun control and space policy, but they also agree on most of these others:
    Gun Rights
    Alternative Sentencing
    Death Penalty
    Drugs in Society
    Marijuana Legalization
    Environmental Philosophy
    Nuclear Waste
    EPA Regulations
    Infrastructure Investment
    Transportation Policy
    Outer Space Policy
    R&D Spending
    Internet Policy
    Health Mandate
    Medicare
    ObamaCare
    Source: Paperback: Mitt vs. Newt On The Issues , Feb 3, 2012

    1994: backed 5-day waiting period on gun sales
    In 1994 Romney pushed some reliably Republican themes, including requiring welfare recipients to work, cracking down on crime, and creating private-sector jobs. But he often strayed from the party plank as he sought to broaden his base of support. He backed two gun-control measures that were strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association: the Brady Law, which imposed a five-day waiting period on gun sales, and a ban on certain assault weapons, saying, “I think they will help.”
    Source: The Real Romney, by Kranish & Helman, p.185 , Jan 17, 2012

    Find common ground with pro-gun & anti-gun groups
    Q: You signed the nation’s first ban on assault weapons in Massachusetts and steeply increased fees on gun owners by 400%. How can you convince gun owners that you will be an advocate for them?
    ROMNEY: We had a piece of legislation that was crafted both by the pro-gun lobby and the anti-gun lobby. The pro-gun lobby said “this legislation allows us to cross roads with weapons when we’re hunting that had not been previously allowed.” And the day when we announced our signing, we had both the pro-gun owners and anti-gun folks all together on the stage because it worked. We worked together. We found common ground. My view is that we have the second amendment right to bear arms and my view is also that we should not add new legislation. I know that there are people that think we need new laws. I disagree with that. I believe we have in place all the laws we need. We should enforce those laws. I do not believe in new laws restricting gun ownership and gun use.
    Source: Fox News debate on MLK Day in Myrtle Beach, SC , Jan 16, 2012

    2002: I will not chip away at MA’s tough gun laws
    In 1994 Romney had supported firearms-control measures opposed by the National Rifle Association: the so-called Brady Bill, which restricted the sale of handguns, and the assault weapons ban. During the 1994 senatorial campaign he had taunted: “That’s not going to make me the hero of the NRA.” He reinforced his support for these measures when he ran for governor in 2002, when he promised not to chip away at the Commonwealth’s tough gun laws. Now as a presidential candidate, Romney presented himself disingenuously as a lifetime member of the NRA and a hunter of “varmints,” which prompted the acerbic Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi to write: “Leave it to Mitt Romney to shoot himself in the foot with a gun he doesn’t own.”
    Source: An Inside Look, by R.B.Scott, p.144-145 , Nov 22, 2011

    2008: “Lifelong” devotion to hunting meant “small varmints”
    Romney’s efforts to get right with the right landed him in trouble. Running against Ted Kennedy for the Senate in 1994, he declared, “I don’t line up with the NRA” on gun control. By 2008, Romney had reversed himself on his [and other issues], which quickly gave rise to charges of hypocrisy and opportunism. A YouTube video began making the rounds that captured him firmly stating his liberalish social views, comically juxtaposing them with his newly adopted arch-conservative stances. From then on, th flip-flopper label was firmly affixed to Mitt’s forehead.
    Oh, and also the one about this “lifelong” devotion to hunting, which turned out to mean he’d done it twice. “I’m not a big-game hunter,” Romney said, then explained that his preferred prey were rodents, rabbits, and such–”small varmints, if you will.”
    He couldn’t fathom why the caricature of him was sticking. When Romney’s staff showed him the devastating YouTube video, his first reaction was ,”Boy, look how young I was back then.”
    Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.293-295 , Jan 11, 2010
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    2002: My positions won’t make me the hero of the NRA
    Mitt Romney. When he ran for the Senate and for governor, he supported a ban on assault rifles and the Brady Bill’s five-day waiting period for gun purchases. He proudly said those positions wouldn’t make him “the hero of the NRA.” As governor, he made Massachusetts the first state to permanently ban assault weapons. He has even flip-flopped about whether he owns any guns. In New Hampshire, he was asked his view on the Second Amendment. He responded that he had been a hunter “pretty much all my life.” Later, red-faced aides of Romney had to admit that Romney had never had a hunting license, and under further questioning, Romney acknowledged that his “lifetime of hunting” was having shot at some birds during a Republican governors meeting during a fund-raising event and maybe shooting at “small varmints” when he was seventeen with his cousin.
    Source: Do The Right Thing, by Mike Huckabee, p. 17-18 , Nov 18, 2008

    GovWatch: 1994: did not “line up with the NRA”
    Top Romney Flip Flops: #3. Gun Control:
    Campaigning for the Senate in 1994, Romney said he favored strong gun laws and did not “line up with the NRA.” He signed up for “lifetime membership” of the NRA in August 2006 while pondering a presidential run, praising the group for “doing good things” and “supporting the right to bear arms.”
    Source: GovWatch on 2008 campaign: “Top Ten Flip-Flops” , Feb 5, 2008

    Support the 2nd Amendment AND the assault weapon ban
    I do support the Second Amendment. I would have signed the assault weapon ban that came to his desk. I said I would have supported that and signed a similar bill in our state. It was a bill worked out, by the way, between pro-gun lobby and anti-gun lobby individuals. Both sides of the issue came together and found a way to provide relaxation in licensing requirements and allow more people to–to have guns for their own legal purposes. So we signed that in Massachusetts, and I’d support that at the federal level. It did not pass at the federal level. I do not believe we need new legislation. I do not support any new legislation of an assault weapon ban nature, including that against semiautomatic weapons. We have laws in place that, if they’re implemented & enforced, will provide the protection and the safety of the American people. I do support the right of individuals to bear arms, whether for hunting purposes or for protection purposes or any other reasons. That’s the right that people have
    Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

    I support the work of the NRA, but disagree sometimes
    We should check on the backgrounds of people who are trying to purchase guns. We also should keep weapons of unusual lethality from being on the street. And finally, we should go after people who use guns in the commission of crimes or illegally, but we should not interfere with the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns, for their own personal protection or hunting or any other lawful purpose. I support the work of the NRA. I’m a member of the NRA. But do we line up on every issue? No, we don’t.
    Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 16, 2007

    Ok to ban lethal weapons that threaten police
    Q: Are you still for the Brady Bill?
    A: The Brady Bill has changed over time, and, of course, technology has changed over time. I would have supported the original assault weapon ban. I signed an assault weapon ban as Massachusetts governor because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus. And so both the pro-gun and the anti-gun lobby came together with a bill, and I signed that. And if there is determined to be, from time to time, a weapon of such lethality that it poses a grave risk to our law enforcement personnel, that’s something I would consider signing. There’s nothing of that nature that’s being proposed today in Washington. But I would look at weapons that pose extraordinary lethality.
    Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 16, 2007

    Compromise MA gun bills were net gain for gun owner
    During Romney’s term he signed several pieces of firearms regulation. A look at that regulation does not reveal an anti-gun Romney. Those bills are characterized as “net gains” for gun owners in a state where opinioned is weighed against them.
    During his tenure, Gov. Romney was credited with several improvements to state laws, including protections for shooting clubs, restoration of the Inland Fish and Game Fund, and requirements that all new hunters pass a hunter safety course. He is also credited with relaxing manufacturing testing for some models of pistols.
    In 2004, Gov. Romney signed a firearms reform bill that made permanent the ban on assault weapons as well as clarified and insured other rights and responsibilities for gun owners. It was a hard-fought compromise between interest groups on both sides of the issue. The NRA Gun Owners’ Action League, law enforcement, and Massachusetts gun owners endorsed the bill.
    Source: The Man, His Values, & His Vision, p. 72-73 , Aug 31, 2007

    Supports Second Amendment rights but also assault weapon ban
    Q: As governor you signed into law one of the toughest restrictions on assault weapons in the country.
    A: Let’s get the record straight. First of all, there’s no question that I support 2nd Amendment rights, but I also support an assault weapon ban. Look, I’ve been governor in a pretty tough state. You’ve heard of blue states. In the toughest of blue states, I made the toughest decisions and did what was right for America. I have conservative values.
    Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

    Will support assault weapons bill and Brady Bill
    The candidate reiterated his support for an assault weapons ban contained in Congress’ crime bill, and the Brady law which imposes a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases. ‘I don’t think (the waiting period) will have a massive effect on crime but I think it will have a positive effect,’ Romney said.
    Source: Joe Battenfeld in Boston Herald , Aug 1, 1994

  • Pro2AMDem

    Yup. Because their power is not derived from being pro-gun, but part of a right wing machine that uses them for other purposes.

  • Pro2AMDem

    Also – the composite of legitimate polls has Romney still behind the president.

  • Parker

    Romney only supported an ASSAULT riffle ban in his state because that’s what the state wanted. That did not necessarily reflect his views because he was representing a largely democratic state which has historically liberal gun laws. When representing a nation, Romney will support to uphold the 2nd amendment rights for all.

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