Support for stricter gun control laws remains high seven weeks after the mass shooting at a high school in South Florida, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
The poll shows roughly two-thirds of voters, 66 percent, support stricter gun control laws in the U.S., while only 28 percent oppose strengthening the nation’s gun laws. The remaining 6 percent of voters have no opinion.
Overall, support for stricter gun laws is greater than in 2016 and 2017 — including in the days immediately following the mass murder of 57 concertgoers in Las Vegas last October. But it is down slightly from a spike of 70 percent last month right after the shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The latest POLITICO/Morning Consult survey was conducted March 29-April 1 — following the nationwide March for Our Lives rallies, but before the most recent shooting, on Tuesday at YouTube’s offices in San Bruno, California.
In the new poll, the vast majority of self-identified Democratic voters, 85 percent, support enacting stricter gun laws. But so do a narrow majority of Republican voters, 51 percent. Among independents, support for stricter gun laws stands at 63 percent.
Still, there are signs Republicans are peeling away from the effort to pass stronger gun control laws, said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult's co-founder and chief research officer.
"As the 'March for Our Lives' rally garnered widespread media attention, our polling suggests Republican opposition against tougher gun laws has increased in the last few weeks," Dropp said. "In this week's poll, 46 percent of Republicans indicated they opposed stricter gun laws, compared to 37 percent who said the same two weeks ago."
The poll also shows broad support for a number of specific gun control initiatives. Nine in 10 voters, 90 percent, support requiring background checks on all gun sales. Eighty-four percent want to bar people on the federal no-fly list from purchasing guns. More than two-thirds, 68 percent, support banning assault-style weapons.
But voters have little optimism that Congress will act beyond the modest changes made in last month’s omnibus bill. Just 8 percent say there is an excellent chance of stricter gun laws passing Congress in the next year or so, while another 21 percent describe the chances as good. By comparison, a combined 61 percent say the chances of new gun laws passing Congress in the next year are fair or poor.
Democrats shouldn’t read the poll numbers as a mandate for their position. More voters think it’s more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, 48 percent, than the 41 percent who think it’s more important to limit gun ownership.
Voters trust both parties equally to handle gun policy: 39 percent trust Republicans in Congress, while 38 percent trust Democrats. (Democrats maintain a 4-point lead on the 2018 generic congressional ballot, however, 41 percent to 37 percent.)
While President Donald Trump has enjoyed an uptick in his approval rating in some other surveys, the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows him at 42 percent for the second consecutive week. And the 54 percent who disapprove of Trump — up just a point from last week — is the highest measured so far in 2018.
The poll surveyed 1,997 registered voters and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.