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Friday, May 31, 2013

Intensity, Public Opinion, and Gun Control

The Pew Research Center reports that the public favors certain forms of gun control, adding some big caveats.
Yet the overall trend on whether it is more important to control gun ownership or protect gun rights has edged back in the direction of gun rights And when it comes to the importance of gun policy as a voting issue, gun rights supporters have the advantage.
In the days after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. last December, more prioritized gun control than gun rights (49% vs. 42%), the first time this had occurred since Barack Obama became president. Roughly five months later, the public is again evenly divided over whether in general it is more important to control gun ownership (50%) or to protect the rights of Americans to own guns (48%). This mirrors the close divide in opinion that existed prior to Newtown. (See Pew Research Center’s 20 years of public opinion data on gun rights and gun control.)
Among those who prioritize gun rights, 41% say they would not vote for a candidate with whom they disagreed on gun policy, even if they agreed with the candidate on most other issues. Fewer gun control supporters (31%) say gun policy is a make-or-break voting issue for them.
And while nearly as many gun control supporters as gun rights supporters report contacting a public official about gun policy in the past six months, more gun rights advocates have contributed money to organizations that take positions on gun policy (12% vs. 3% of gun control supporters).