In a new poll conducted by the University of Texas in conjunction with the Texas Tribune (UT/TT) published this week, surprising data reveals that 44% of Texans favor gun laws that are stricter. In addition to other questions regarding the overall mood of voters in Texas, it is clear that gun control is a very divisive topic.
The UT/TT poll was conducted this past February and sampled registered voters throughout Texas via internet polling. Of the 1,200 respondents, 53% were female, 47% male, with a slight majority of people identifying themselves as Republican at 46%, Democrat 41% and Independent with 12%.
It was no surprise that the mood regarding gun control was divided down party lines. When asked about the “strictness of gun laws”, 44% of those polled believe that gun control laws should be made “more strict” while 36% state they believe that current gun laws should be left alone and 16% believe they should be made “less strict”. Democrats made up the vast majority of those in favor of increasing the “strictness” of gun control laws at 80%.
With regard to background checks, 78% of the poll respondents of all political affiliation support background checks for every gun purchase, including private sales and gun show sales. The question also clarified that “background checks” mean a review of criminal and mental health history.
When questioned about the issue of a semi-automatic weapons ban, 49% of Texans polled oppose such a ban, with 40% of Texans favoring a ban, 11% have no opinion. In the nation at large, 53% of those polled throughout the country favor a ban of these firearms, with 44% opposing and the rest with no opinion.
The issue of so-called “high capacity magazines” yields an opinion right down the middle, with 46% of Texans favoring a ban compared to 47% opposing and 10% with no opinion. “High capacity magazines” refer to clips that hold a large amount of ammunition and can be loaded manually into a weapon. This data also revealed the political bias of those polled with 78% Democrats favoring the ban in comparison to just 20% Republicans.
Another question regarding the issue of “campus carry” again shows a nearly even divide of Texas. A law has been proposed in the 83rd Texas legislature that would allow students and faculty, who possess a concealed handgun license, to keep their firearms with them while attending class. The data collected shows 47% oppose the measure, with 35% stating that they “strongly oppose” such legislation.
The general data of the sample also revealed some interesting facts. Of the respondents polled, only 9% reported that they are members of the NRA. Additionally, 44% do not own a gun, 43% state there is a gun owner in the household, and 13% declined to answer this question.
Of those respondents who are gun owners, 44% reveal that they own 2-5 guns. When asked about the reason for owning a gun, 44% cite protection as their number one reason with hunting a distant second at 13%.
The University of Texas Politics Poll was launched in July of 2008 and joined by the Texas Tribune in 2009. According to their website, the poll “is designed to provide both educational and research resources to students, educators, and the general public.”
In addition to questions about gun control, respondents were asked a series of questions regarding the state of the nation as a whole, favorability of current leaders in Washington D.C. and here in Texas, and opinions regarding the 2014 governor’s election. Also, other hot button issues were addressed including abortion, immigration and infrastructure.
Find data for the entire report here.
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