A new Quinnipiac poll came out this week demonstrating a robust appetite for stricter gun laws amongst a large majority of the American public. Here are some of the most dramatic excerpts, as well as other polling from Pew and Gallup which proves that America is hungry for real change (the last poll differs from the rest, as it is a shocking display in how far we have moved against gun control in the last half-century).
Adding the margin of error to this figure brings us to 100%. Searching Quinnipiac's polling history, the earliest question I could find on this is from 2013, when 92% supported it. The fact that this has always been an issue that Americans are united on, yet the NRA has stonewalled all legislation addressing it is unimpeachable proof that our democracy is fundamentally broken. Special interests supersede the electorate on nearly every issue in the undemocratic United States of America.
This figure is up from 60% in 2013. It's largely driven by Democrats and Independents, who saw a 10% and 12% jump in support, respectively. Republicans have only moved a couple percentage points in favor of this topic.
Just 6% of Democrats and 9% of women oppose this. Unsurprisingly, men are the largest cohort of opposition to this idea, as 19% oppose it (19% of Republicans oppose it too…*thinking face emoji*).
If there was an issue that defines the split in America on the gun problem, this is it. Just 38% of Republicans think it is too easy to buy a gun (50% think it's “about right”), and 91% of Democrats think we make it too easy. Independents side more with Democrats on this topic, as 67% think guns are too accessible.
Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll said, “If you think Americans are largely unmoved by the mass shootings, you should think again. Support for stricter gun laws is up 19 points in little more than two years. In the last two months, some of the biggest surges in support for tightening gun laws comes from demographic groups you may not expect, independent voters, men, and whites with no college degree.”
In 2008, 54% of Americans supported stricter gun laws, with 32% of Republicans in favor. In 2013, the number of Republicans supporting this measure dropped to 26%. There's a running theme amongst all these polls: Republicans are more amenable to gun control when a Republican is in the White House, as the next chart vividly illustrates.
This is down from 78% in 1991 when George H.W. Bush was president.
The implication in these polls is pretty simple: Republicans don’t trust Democrats on guns.
White adults are more likely than blacks or Hispanics to own guns, and white men are particularly likely to be gun owners: 48% of white men say they currently own a gun, compared with 24% each of white women and nonwhite men and 16% of nonwhite women. Americans with less education also are more likely to be gun owners, a gap that is widest among whites.
Pew’s April 2017 poll demonstrated this divide, as 60% of Republican and Republican-leaning women support banning assault-style weapons, while just 28% of Republican and Republican-leaning men support it.
In July of 1959, Gallup found that 60% of Americans thought there should be a law that would ban the possession of pistols and revolvers, except by the police and other authorized persons. In October 2017, just 28% of Americans think we should ban handguns, save for those exceptions. If someone tells you that big change is not possible, they’re either lying or ignorant of history. The NRA has already proved that they can shift a majority of us towards their agenda if given enough time, so when these inspiring kids are clamoring for massive change, belittling their efforts as unrealistic is proven wrong by a cursory review of America’s past. Big change is possible, and the moment to begin the march back towards rationality begins now.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.