Fewer than half of Americans said they were either “angry” or “disappointed” that proposed gun legislation fizzled in the Senate last week, according to findings in the latest Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll released on Wednesday.
The poll showed that 47 percent of respondents described themselves as “angry” or “disappointed” with the failure of the gun bill, a plurality that was slightly more than the 39 percent who described themselves as “very happy” or “relieved” that it did not pass. But 47 percent is also considerably lower than the staggering level of support for expanding background checks for gun purchases — a centerpiece of the Senate bill — that was routinely shown in public polling.
Moreover, the WaPo/Pew poll indicated there may be a slight intensity gap between gun control advocates and opponents. The poll showed that 20 percent of respondents were “very happy” that the bill failed while 15 percent were “angry” — two descriptions positioned on opposite ends of the poll’s spectrum.
Fifty-one percent of Republicans said they were either “very happy” or “relieved” that the gun bill failed, while 67 percent of Democrats were either “angry” or “disappointed.” Men were nearly evenly divided — 44 percent said they were “very happy” or “relieved” while 41 percent said they were “angry” or “disappointed” — while a majority of women (52 percent) described themselves as “angry” or “disappointed.” Polls conducted since the December massacre in Newtown, Conn. have consistently shown greater support for gun control among women than men.