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Is the American legislature working or have we lost representation of the people?

With the recent congressional debacle over gun control and the failed attempt at increasing background checks, despite 90% of the population desiring such regulation, I feel as though the current congress is not functioning properly. I am starting to strongly feel as though the people elected to represent citizens are not understanding/caring what the people want.

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  • May 1 2013: Miguel,

    I think it's a valid question & one that deserves a deep look.

    For one, I think polling data is soft at best. Polls are fickle; people are fickle. Case in point, after the Gulf War, Bush Sr.'s approval ratings were sky-high and re-election seemed like a sure thing; but in the next election Clinton soundly beat him.

    Two, look at the polling data right after Sandy Hook and then a few months later. If it's not in front of people, feelings and interest wane.

    Three, look at this poll from Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/162083/americans-wanted-gun-background-checks-pass-senate.aspx which shows that 65% of Americans thought the Manchin-Toomey gun amendment should have passed. 65% is not 90%. Where'd the rest of the people who "wanted it" go? Perhaps, the original reports of the polling data were incorrect.

    I wrote about this on Policymic.com here http://www.policymic.com/articles/37587/gun-control-debate-2013-why-aren-t-90-of-americans-mad-as-hell-about-background-check-defeat The Washington Post ran an article titled ""Why the American Public Isn't mad As Hell About the Failure Of the Gun Bill (In Numbers)". In it, they cite that after the bill failed, 20% were "very happy" with another 19% "relieved" the bill didn't pass; 15% "angry" & 32% "disappointed" it didn't pass; and 10% "none" & 3% "no opinion" about it.

    They cite another WP article titled "90% of Americans want expanded background checks on guns. Why isn’t this a political slam dunk?" for their source data for the claim that 90% originally supported the gun bill. The article links the actual poll ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/page/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2013/03/12/National-Politics/Polling/question_10030.xml ) which shows the question was specifically limited to "Q: Would you support or oppose a law requiring background checks on people buying guns at gun shows?"

    But the Machin-Toomey admentment wasn't about just "gun shows", so claiming 90% support for the bill appears incorrect.

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