Poll: Support Dips For Gun Background Checks

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Support for background checks has dipped nationally but remains strong, according to a poll by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling set for release Tuesday.

The finding, shared in advance with TPM, was that 73 percent of registered American voters support “requiring background checks for all gun sales, including gun shows and the internet,” while 21 percent oppose it.“The 90 percent support we were seeing for background checks earlier in the year isn’t there anymore,” PPP director Tom Jensen told TPM by email.

The party-line split for background checks was 87-8 percent among Democrats, 63-30 among Republicans and 62-31 among independents.

“With the NRA and most Republican Senators opposing Manchin/Toomey that opposition has trickled down to some conservative voters as well,” Jensen said. “But we continue to see more than 70 percent support overall and 60 percent support from Republicans, and that’s still pretty remarkable for any controversial issue in this political climate.”

The PPP survey suggests that background checks aren’t quite 90-10 issue that many polls have found it to be throughout this year. But it also shows enduring support across the partisan spectrum for expanding mandatory criminal checks that the vast majority of Democratic senators support and that Republicans oppose.

Legislation to require background checks for purchases at guns shows and Internet sales last month failed to clear the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a Senate filibuster. Democratic proponents of the measure have vowed to keep pushing until they succeed.

The PPP poll surveyed 1,099 registered voters between May 5-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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