A new poll by Quinnipiac University shows that slightly more Americans trust Congressional Republicans on gun policy than they do President Barack Obama, while overall support for stricter gun laws has slipped a bit.
The survey, taken from Feb. 27 through March 4, contacted 1,944 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus/minus 2.2 percentage points. Directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., the Quinnipiac University poll “conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research,” the website states.
The poll has some striking results. For example, 79 percent of acknowledged Democrats, 33 percent of the independents and 83 percent of the African-Americans polled trust the president more on gun issues than Republicans, while 82 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of the independents and only ten percent of the blacks, as opposed to 51 percent of whites, trust Republicans.
Asked if they support or oppose stricter gun laws, 68 percent of the Republicans oppose more laws while 79 percent of Democrats support them. Among independents, 48 percent oppose and 46 percent support tougher laws. Overall, the trend is that 51 percent support stricter laws while 42 percent oppose, which is a slight change from last month, when 52 percent supported and 43 percent opposed.
Seventy-seven percent of Democrats support a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” while 59 percent of the Republicans oppose it. The overall number has shifted from a month ago, when 56 percent of all respondents supported a ban that now garners 54 percent, while 41 percent are opposed when last month 39 percent opposed it.
Meanwhile, 76 percent of Democrats support a ban on standard-capacity magazines that hold more than ten cartridges, while 62 percent of the Republican respondents oppose such a ban.
A whopping 88 percent support requiring background checks for all gun buyers including 83 percent of Republican respondents, 96 percent of the Democrats and 88 percent of independents.
A demographic breakdown linked to the website showed that 25 percent of the respondents identified themselves as Republicans, while 34 percent were Democrats and 34 percent were independents. Seventy-three percent were white, 11 percent black and nine percent Hispanic.
As this column noted yesterday, a smaller Elway Poll conducted just in the Northwest showed that among Washington State voters, protecting the right to own a gun is more important than enacting more controls on guns and their owners by a 55-37 percent margin. That poll also showed Democrats far more in favor (68 percent) of controlling gun ownership than Republicans, among whom 84 percent think protecting gun rights is more important.
Sixty-three percent of Northwest independents come down on the side of gun rights in the Elway poll.
What does all of this mean? The president is losing traction for his gun control proposals, yet most Americans support background checks, while adding more gun laws is an idea that only ranks higher with Democrats. Also, more Democrats favor banning so-called “assault weapons” while more Republicans support their ownership.