On The Union Edge, Media Matters' Timothy Johnson Explains How The Media Was Wrong To Claim The Gun Issue Cost Virginia Democrats The State Senate

From the November 5 edition of Working Family Radio Network's The Union Edge:

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TIMOTHY JOHNSON: The big thing in Virginia is that they don't have universal background checks. So the primetime gun issue in Virginia is background checks. So -- and voters in Virginia want background checks so it's not exactly crazy to run on that issue. I think the problem is that there is this longstanding thing that guns are a very dangerous issue for Democrats, that if you say you support gun safety, that's it, you're out. But the data doesn't bear it out. So at Media Matters we looked at -- yesterday we looked at this Washington Post article and the headline of the article is, “Did gun control cost McAuliffe and Democrats the Virginia election?” And basically this article didn't have a lot of hard data, this is what the polling said, this was turnout, blah blah blah. Instead it relied on a bunch of pundits who just kind of speculated like, “Yeah, this one race in Richmond, the fact that there was a lot of spending on the gun issue was the reason that that candidate lost.” And in fact, the opposite is true. If you look at the actual polling, this was a Republican district and this candidate Dan Gecker actually outperformed expectations after receiving -- after this group Everytown for Gun Safety started spending a lot of money on gun safety ads. So this is a Republican district, instead he lost it by two points. You'd expect in a generic matchup for him to lose it by 10 points. So if anything the intervention of the gun safety issue helped Dan Gecker close the gap in his district, but instead we have this Washington Post article that basically theorizes the opposite.


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