Poll: Support for Gun Control Dropping, Majority Feel Guns Make Them Safer

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There are some new gun-related opinion polls out in the last couple days. They indicate further movement on the part of the public away from sentiment for more gun control laws. So let’s grab our calculators and dive right in . . .

Since Newtown, civilian disarmament advocates (including certain members of my own family) have been using the bandwagon argument to try to get gun owners on board with the idea of giving up some of their Constitutionally protected rights in order to “protect the children.” They’d justify the push by pointing out that “most of America agrees with me,” that all they want is “common sense gun control.” Well, now the groupthink line is working in our favor.

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According to a USA Today poll, support for increased gun control legislation has dropped back down to around 49%. Let’s put that in a little perspective:

Pre-Newtown gun control support: 43% (Gallup)

Immediate Post-Newtown Support: 58% (Gallup)

Current: 49% (USA Today)

So we’re not quite back down to the pre-Newtown numbers yet, but support for gun control is definitely taking a nosedive. I get the feeling that seeing the horrors that Congress cooked up in the wake of the shooting (“assault weapons” ban, magazine capacity restrictions, universal background checks, gunpowder regulation) provided a useful reality check that tempered the nation’s desire to “do something.”

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One of the reasons that the appetite for increased gun control is dropping faster than condom wrappers in Amsterdam’s Red Light District is that gun owners are winning the culture war. A new poll by the Washington Post shows that, for the first time in recent memory, the majority of Americans feel that having a gun in their home makes them safer. No doubt the recent events in Boston, where terrorists engaged in running gun battles with police in the middle of a residential neighborhood, had something to do with that outcome.

Which leads me to my second poll of the week, namely a Fox News survey that shows the NRA having a higher approval rating than the Democratic Party.

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The problem with a question like this is that it cuts both ways: those who look unfavorably on the NRA and the Democrats could be doing so either because their position on gun control went too far, or didn’t go far enough. So, it’s basically a wash from an analytic standpoint. But it gives you the warm fuzzies anyway, doesn’t it?

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Similarly vague is a poll from the WaPo that shows the majority of respondents disapproving of the way President Obama is handling gun control. The only good thing we can take away from these kinds of numbers is that people are unhappy about the way Washington is handling things, and when that happens incumbent politicians have a good reason to fear for their jobs.

Finally, the icing on the cake: the actual numbers of those who are peeved that the Senate didn’t pass additional gun control measures, as reported by the Washington Post.

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While the country may be split on this, that Washington Post poll shows that there is still some support out there for assault weapons bans, magazine capacity limits and background checks.

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President Obama claimed that 90% of the country wanted this specific legislation to pass, which is what’s commonly known as a lie. 90% of Americans thought background checks per se were a good idea, but that’s a far cry from supporting the proposed legislation. Heck, I support background checks, but I still broke out the champagne when the Senate vote failed.

Many low-information voters (again, like certain family members) simply saw “universal background checks” and never dug any further into the details. Those people, ones that were specifically targeted by President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, and the Democratic Party’s advertising campaigns (which purposefully kept the content of the legislation vague) make up a large percentage of the people who are now “disappointed” or “angry” that the legislation didn’t pass, and will no doubt blame the Republicans for obstructing a “common sense” measure. But among Republican voters, 51% are relieved or very happy that the legislation failed to pass. That puts red state Dems in a very awkward position for the 2014 elections, since their votes are now on the record and will no doubt be a pain point used by NRA campaigns.

No matter how many Democrats are mad about this specific bill’s failure, the fact remains that it isn’t something that they’re willing to be a single-issue voter about. Democrats, by and large, don’t actually care about guns. They’d like to see more restrictions, but recent polls show only about 4% of them place it as their top priority when it comes to new legislation.

On the other side of the coin, there are people like myself. Those who used to vote for candidates based on a wide array of factors, and were as happy to vote Democrat as Republican, but who have now become single issue voters using gun control as the litmus test. And those pissed off voters are the ones that will make all the difference in 2014.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

34 Responses to Poll: Support for Gun Control Dropping, Majority Feel Guns Make Them Safer

  1. avatarJoke & Dagger says:

    Shhhh…don’t point out the facts. Messes with the gun grabber’s agenda. Just take this blue pill and get back into the Matrix. No red pills available.

  2. avatarDougieR says:

    This is one MO voter who voted for Claire Mccaskill who will not be doing so again. I trusted her statements on her rural bona fides, gun rights, and couldn’t stand Todd Akin and his loose lips. Her siding with civilian disarmers in the recent vote has turned me into a single issue voter for certain.

    • avatarNot Your Mother says:

      Did you learn your lesson? MO would have been better off with Akin.

      • avatarBruce says:

        Are you kidding? I agree with Dougie, I won’t be voting for McCaskill again, unless she is running against Akin.

        • avatarTaurus609 says:

          Same for me! She didn’t win a second term, she won because Taliban Todd opened his mouth, plain and simple.

          I’ve sent soooooo many emails to her about her votes against law abiding Americans, that I think there are drones over my house as we speak!

    • avatarIng says:

      Me too. If you or your political party support gun control, you don’t get my vote, and that’s all there is to it.

      But that’s not *really* all there is to it.

      If it came to a choice between a Democrat and a medieval-minded troglodyte like Todd Akin (of which the Republican party has plenty), I’d rather not vote at all. Or else I’d have to vote for a third-party candidate, which is almost the same thing.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        The option that’s crying to be adopted is the one that scares the Political Class the most: NONE OF THE ABOVE. We need it on ballots, and we need it BAD.

        But in the back of the pols’ minds is a truly terrifying prospect: what happens when “None of the Above” WINS?

        • avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

          “…what happens when “None of the Above” WINS?”

          That’s easy, a new election with new candidates. Don’t allow the candidates that lost to “None of the Above” to run in the same election.

        • avatarDaniel Silverman says:

          I actually like the none of the above idea.. :-)

        • avatarKen Hagler says:

          I vaguely remember reading about some country in the Balkans that allowed for the office to be left vacant in such a case (or maybe it was if nobody got the majority of the vote), and they got away with not having a President for several years as a result.

      • avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

        In the sense that voting is really nothing more than a communication tool, I say that voting for a 3rd party candidate is significantly different from not voting. Voting 3rd party says “I’m pissed at both parties” while not voting can be interpreted to mean I’m ok with the status quo.

  3. avatartdiinva says:

    The anti-Second Amendment lobby has been driving the debate based on pure emotion. Last week pure emotion said “I want a gun.” All things considered what the both Newtown and Boston say is it is better to be armed than not. Sometimes the sum of all emotions lead to a rational conclusion.

  4. avatarIn Memphis says:

    But 99% of Americans support common semse gun control, for the children.

    Duh!

    /sarcasm

  5. avatarDave says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if the Senate decides to hold another vote on a modified Manchin-Toomey. Some think it might:

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/04/25/mccain-schumer-say-gun-control-is-coming-back

  6. avatarChris. says:

    “On the other side of the coin, there are people like myself. Those who used to vote for candidates based on a wide array of factors, and were as happy to vote Democrat as Republican, but who have now become single issue voters using gun control as the litmus test. And those pissed off voters are the ones that will make all the difference in 2014.”

    I used to take pride in the fact that I wasn’t a single issue voter. I don’t know that I will be in the future, but I do know I cannot vote for my current senators again. (from Franken & Klobuchar) both cosponsored Fienstein’s abomination.

  7. avatarIronGiants1973 says:

    Most people just don’t care one way of the other. They want to make some $, spend time with family and friends and live their lives in peace and quiet. The President’s histrionics and child props don’t influence them because they don’t pay attention. Those of us who have a dog in the fight are the most passionate. And yes, I am officially a single issue voter. Can’t wait to get to VA where it will matter.

    • avatarJim Scrummy says:

      Don’t vote for that crony capitalist carpetbagging awb-ban loving McAuliffe. This guy is bad news all around.

  8. avatarIdahoPete says:

    I can develop a poll that would show “90% of American voters feel that the media should be more closely regulated by the government to prevent terrorists from organizing, and to prevent media outlets being racist” – or whatever drivel is your cause of the day. So let’s trash the First Amendment, because 90% of Americans agree.

    That is why it is called the Bill of RIGHTS, and it is not subject to a popular vote. Those who do not like the 2nd Amendment are welcome to follow the legal process to amend the Constitution.

  9. avatarmediocrates says:

    I would still like someone to point out under what authority the Federal government is going to use to intrude on private sales? Or even better, what imaginary precedent SCOTUS is going to use to justify it?

    Your recent article on the killings in Illinois(?) was a stark reminder that people HAVE to take responsibility first and foremost for their own DNA preservation. The objective of being an armed citizen is not to be a hero, but to survive.

    • avatarJulian says:

      Not imaginary, read Wickard V Filburn. Replace wheat with guns, and there’s your precedent. It may be a slight stretch, but a secondary market impacts the primary market. It’s a huge crock of sh!t, but it’s precedent.

  10. avatarAharon says:

    The government should pass a law requiring the mass media to hire an equal number of journalists and editors that are conservatives, liberals, and independents. So-called affirmative action and hiring quotas need to be seen in a new way; not just by sex and race.

    This country is more obsessed by the glass ceiling concept than the truly harsh reality that tens of millions of men are unemployed, homeless, and in prison because society does give a care about men (and boys) falling through society’s glass floor. Men are no less deserving than women of social support programs and care than women are who get about 95%+ of all the social welfare support programs.

    • avatarEvan says:

      I agree with some of your points, but that 95% number is a bit of a stretch. Although when you take single moms into consideration it gets more believable. Do you have any references for that number?

  11. avatarDr Duh says:

    “On the other side of the coin, there are people like myself. Those who used to vote for candidates based on a wide array of factors, and were as happy to vote Democrat as Republican, but who have now become single issue voters using gun control as the litmus test. ”

    As a slave state resident for at least 3 more years, I plan on volunteering to make phone calls against Red State gun grabbers.
    This is a promise…

  12. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    This is unwelcome news indeed for the grabbers; I suspect it’s right around now that the call for a new, more horrific school shooting goes out.

  13. avatarEagleScout87 says:

    There needs to be more take a newbie to the range days (though that’s tough with the ammo shortage), grass roots efforts are every bit as important as sensational news.

  14. avatarJMS says:

    “there are people like myself. Those who used to vote for candidates based on a wide array of factors, and were as happy to vote Democrat as Republican, but who have now become single issue voters using gun control as the litmus test. ”

    +1… describes me to a tee as well. Although, it has been maybe 7 years since I first became a “single issue voter.” I tend to vote Libertarian now whenever possible (meaning, the election is not expected to be close one way or the other and I’m not “wasting” my vote).

  15. avatarSilver says:

    The fact that anyone could think a gun in the house doesn’t make them safer boggles the mind. Ask them if a fire extinguisher in the house makes them safer, or seat belts. Adult children, that’s all they are.

    Oh well…I guess without stupidity, how would we know intelligence?

  16. avatarAharon says:

    A stove and cooking range in the house helps people eat more enjoyable healthier meals yet it also poses the threat of starting a fire, burning down the home, hurting and even killing people. Perhaps it is time to ban stoves and ranges?

  17. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    I listen to a black radio station in Milwaukee at times. For awhile I heard a lot of “got to get those guns”. Now I hear, take your CC class so you can protect your family. I almost feel sorry for the grabbers trying to sell death, Randy

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