It has been a week since Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke vowed, “Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47” in the Democratic primary debate in Houston. There has now been enough time for several polls to show trends from debate performances and it isn’t looking good for Beto.
Looking at the Real Clear Politics average, Beto was sitting at 2.8 percent on September 12, the day of the debate. The most recent average shows him at 2.7 percent, statistically unchanged from before his big moment.
In polling the week before the debate, O’Rourke had ranged as high as five percent and as low as one percent. In the week since the debate, he has surged to four percent and sank as low as one percent.
For all the hoopla and angst over his plan to confiscate guns from law-abiding Americans, Beto sits almost exactly at the same spot in the polls. There are a couple of things that we can take from this. The most important is that it takes more than a swearing and taking a hard line on guns to get Democratic votes. Even though most Democrats support the gun “buyback” idea, they aren’t flocking to Beto because of it. Democratic voters seem to think that there are more important factors than “wokeness” on guns.
Beto’s failure to launch also underscores the divide within the Democratic Party. The majority of the Democratic Party is made up of far-left progressives, but there is a sizable contingent of moderates. I estimate that moderates make up about a third of the party. The 25 percent of the party that opposes Beto’s “buyback” is roughly equivalent to the roughly 30 percent that support moderate candidates like Biden, Klobuchar, and Yang.
The Democrats would be much better off focusing on issues like background checks and red flag laws than controversial issues like gun confiscations. Multiple polls show that background checks and red flag laws are supported by more than 70 percent of Americans while opinion is split on “assault weapons” bans and mandatory “buybacks.”
Beto’s carefully staged moment of passion was his last-gasp attempt to pull himself out of the polling cellar, but it failed. O’Rourke’s campaign is going nowhere and has little hope of catching on. With a large campaign war chest, he can stay in the race for the foreseeable future but you can stick a fork in him. He’s done.
Originally published on The Resurgent