An Electoral Dud?

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 10 2012 @ 10:40am


by Zack Beauchamp

Paul Waldman assesses the NRA's clout in Congressional elections: 

To determine just how powerful the NRA really is on election day, in recent months I assembled a database covering the last four federal elections: 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. These years cover two presidential and non-presidential years, as well as two significant Democratic victories and two significant Republican victories. I gathered data on the outcome of every House and Senate election, including the margins of victory, the money spent by each candidate, the partisan character of each district, and whether the NRA made an endorsement in the race and how much money they spent.

The conclusion to be drawn from these data will be surprising to many: The NRA has virtually no impact on congressional elections.

The NRA endorsement, so coveted by so many politicians, is almost meaningless. Nor does the money the organization spends have any demonstrable impact on the outcome of races. In short, when it comes to elections, the NRA is a paper tiger.

By contrast, Adam Winkler warns Obama to stay away from the issue in the Presidential race.

(Photo: GOP presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum [R-PA] dons a National Rifle Association hat while talking to reporters at Doc's Hunt Club December 26, 2011 in Adel, Iowa. By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.)