Polls: Support for stricter gun laws slipping
Why it matters: The drop in support coincides with a major spike in gun sales and estimated violent crime rates that has continued into 2021, though criminologists are largely divided on what caused the crime increase.
By the numbers: Quinnipiac found that among 1,378 surveyed adults, 45% supported stricter gun laws, a drop of 9 percentage points from a survey it did in April 2021. Opposition to new gun laws rose from 42% in April to 49% in November.
- 91% of polled Democrats said they support stricter laws, while 84% of Republicans and 54% of independents said they oppose them.
- 40% of those surveyed said they believed the U.S. would be safer if more people owned guns, and 48% said it would be less safe.
- Gallup found in its poll of 823 adults that support for stricter gun control has fallen five percentage points to 52%, the lowest reading it's recorded since 2014.
- 91% of surveyed Democrats supported stricter laws in its poll, and 56% of Republicans said the laws should be kept as they are.
The big picture: Some experts have suggested that socioeconomic changes — like increases in unemployment — set off by the coronavirus pandemic have contributed to the violent crime spike. Others have proposed that disruptions to policing from the virus and police brutality protests are a factor.
- Analysts have produced research that suggests the upticks in gun-related homicides was not caused by record gun sales because many of the new purchases were by people who already owned guns, Axios' Bryan Walsh reports.
- As of October, 44 states and the District of Columbia had enacted around 200 gun and community violence-related laws this year, while federal gun control initiatives have largely stalled, Axios' Stef W. Kight reports.
Meanwhile, the Quinnipiac poll also found that a bipartisan majority of Americans believe that the Supreme Court and its justices are mainly motivated by politics rather than the law.
- The survey suggests that Americans are losing faith in the Supreme Court as the nonpartisan final arbiter of the law and the Constitution.
- The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,378 U.S. adults nationwide from Nov. 11 to Nov. 15 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.
- The Gallup poll surveyed 823 U.S. adults from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.
Go deeper: Why we struggle to count violent gun crime