Hidden poll results and shell-shocked gun control advocates show that it's not just the right that likes to seal itself off with reassuring, but wrong, facts.
Voters in two Colorado State Senate districts last night ousted Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, both Democrats, for their votes in enacting tough new gun control laws. The recall was spearheaded by three Pueblo plumbers who prevailed, despite being outspent nearly seven-to-one by gun control donors including billionaire Michael Bloomberg – I haven't seen plumbers kick this much tail since the Mario Brothers.
I followed both recalls closely – frequent readers of this blog know that the Second Amendment is as near and dear to me as the First Amendment. But for the record, this post isn't about guns or gun control, but the dangers of wrapping yourself in an information bubble.
The mystery of why I couldn't find polls on the recall was solved this morning when it was revealed that at least one agency, Public Policy Polling, refused to release its poll that concluded that Giron would lose her seat.
The Democratic-friendly polling firm found that Giron, who represents a heavily Democratic district, would lose by a 54 to 42 percent margin. Giron ended up losing by a 56 to 44 percent margin – 12 points, just as PPP predicted.
But pollster Tom Jensen admitted that PPP didn't believe its own poll:
"In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll. It turns out we should have had more faith in our numbers becaue she was indeed recalled by 12 points."
This is one case. While I generally abhor conspiracy theory, I'll allow myself to ask: How many news agencies, how many other gun-control groups, commissioned polls only to hide them in the deepest hole they could find when the polls didn't tell them what they wanted to hear?
I raised the hackles of some conservatives after the November election when I chided them in this blog post for wrapping themselves in the bubble of the Conservative Entertainment Complex and being so shocked when they got the shellacking that they should have seen coming.
Now it's time for a little equal time, with a dash of schadenfreude.
Last night, I watched the same shock on the faces of gun-control proponents and recall opponents that I saw on Republican faces on election night when reality came crashing in. For them, Tuesday night wasn't supposed to happen. The New York Times and MSNBC told them that the American people, aside from a teeny-weeny lunatic fringe, were ready to repeal the Second Amendment and throw their guns in the smelter to be turned into gardening tools for disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Like the GOP lapping up Fox News and its affiliated purveyors of poppycock, Tuesday's losing side fell for The Narrative hook, line and sinker. And like the GOP last year, gun-control supporters got a very rude awakening when the real world popped their bubble.
I can't take credit for this observation, but one of the greatest ironies of the Information Age is that while there's more information out there than ever before, it's easier than ever before to filter what you see and hear. Naturally, human beings regardless of political stripe want to surround themselves with people who agree with them.
We have now witnessed two electoral thrashings – one each for the left and the right – that shows just how dangerous this is.
And just like the GOP after Obama's re-election, I see recall opponents taking the predictable and unfortunate next step of making excuses – it was voter suppression, the big, bad National Rifle Association, etc., etc. Just like how Republicans blamed Superstorm Sandy, ACORN, the evil liberal media, the New Black Panthers, ad nauseam.
In both cases, the losing side is blaming everything but the 900-pound gorilla in the room that their ideas turned out to be politically unpopular with a plurality of voters who went to the polls. While a Quinnipiac poll in August found most Coloradans opposed the general practice of recalling lawmakers prior to an election, it also found that they also opposed the new gun control law by a 54 percent to 40 percent margin.
So between this blog post and the one I wrote after November, the primary moral of the story is to see the situation in front of you as it really is, not as you want it to be.
The fact that that Mayor Bloomberg may in fact be a billion-dollar punch line who can't even stop people from buying large sodas is a close second.
Senior Writer Kevin Craver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.