On Thursday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd urged Republicans to back gun restrictions or risk alienation from female voters: "Look at the massive gender gap....65% of women want stricter gun laws, 44% of men. So if you make the argument to Republicans...if you want to continue to have problems with women voters, don't deal with this gun issue. If you want to start trying to win over suburban women, maybe you need to tackle it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd's assertion was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer touting a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: "Look at the political divide....82% of Democrats support tougher gun laws, only 27% of Republicans. How are the Democrats going to bridge that gap?" Notice how Lauer immediately frets over how Democrats can win the argument.
Here is a transcript of the April 11 exchange:
MATT LAUER: Chuck Todd is NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent. Chuck, good morning to you.
CHUCK TODD: Good morning, Matt.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: NBC/Wall St. Journal Poll; Guns, Immigration & The President; Where Americans Stand on the Issues]
LAUER: Let's talk about the general numbers on gun control. Right now according to our polling, 55% of Americans say they want stricter laws. That's down from 61% three months ago, right after the Newtown shooting. But the real story is in the next numbers. Look at the political divide. According to our NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 82% of Democrats support tougher gun laws, only 27% of Republicans. How are the Democrats going to bridge that gap?
TODD: Well, and I would put there, you could use those percentages to say gun laws have about an 82% chance of getting through the Senate and about a 27% chance of getting through the Republican House. I mean, I think that polarization is what makes this so difficult, you can't figure out what the end game is here.
Yes, getting a conservative Republican like Pat Toomey onboard is important, but I want to highlight another number that might convince some Republicans to do this. Look at the massive gender gap. It's as large of a gender gap as we've seen on any issue when it comes to stricter gun laws. 65% of women want stricter gun laws, 44% of men. So if you make the argument to Republicans, you had a problem with women voters in 2012, it's why you didn't win the presidency, if you want to continue to have problems with women voters, don't deal with this gun issue. If you want to start trying to win over suburban women, maybe you need to tackle it.