Poll: Majority of Republican Men Support Universal Background Checks on Gun Sales

United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds a quarter would be “very pleased” to extend checks to gun shows and Internet sales.

This February 4, 2013 photo illustration in Manassas, Virginia, shows a Remington 20-gauge semi-automatic shotgun, a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a Colt .45 semi-auto handgun, a Walther PK380 semi-auto handgun and various ammunition clips with a copy of the US Constitution on top of the American flag. US President Barack Obama Monday heaped pressure on Congress for action 'soon' on curbing gun violence. Obama made a pragmatic case for legislation on the contentious issue, arguing that just because political leaders could not save every life, they should at least try to save some victims of rampant gun crime. 
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Peter Bell
Dec. 6, 2013, 8:59 a.m.

A ma­jor­ity of Re­pub­lic­an and Re­pub­lic­an-lean­ing men, 53 per­cent, would be “very pleased” or “some­what pleased” if le­gis­la­tion re­quir­ing uni­ver­sal back­ground checks on all gun sales was passed by Con­gress and signed by the pres­id­ent, ac­cord­ing to the latest United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll.

The res­ults quanti­fy the broad pop­ular­ity of ex­pand­ing back­ground checks on fire­arms pur­chases across the polit­ic­al spec­trum, even among a seg­ment of the pub­lic usu­ally op­posed to gun-con­trol meas­ures. Sup­port for uni­ver­sal back­ground checks ranges from mild among Re­pub­lic­an men to strong among Re­pub­lic­an wo­men to al­most wild among Demo­crats.

A Popular Proposal National Journal

Three-quar­ters of Demo­crats said they would be “very pleased” to see back­ground-check le­gis­la­tion en­acted — more than the 64 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans who said they would be “very pleased” if the Af­ford­able Care Act, also known as Obama­care, was re­pealed.

At first glance, the polit­ic­al down­side to back­ground-check le­gis­la­tion is vir­tu­ally nonex­ist­ent: Just 14 per­cent of all Amer­ic­ans and just 19 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans said they would be “very dis­ap­poin­ted” if such a law was en­acted. Among Re­pub­lic­an wo­men, just 12 per­cent said the same.

However, 30 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­an men said they would be “very dis­ap­poin­ted” if uni­ver­sal back­ground checks be­came law. That find­ing helps to ex­plain the fate of the back­ground-check le­gis­la­tion sponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., last April, and il­lus­trate the abil­ity of a vo­cal minor­ity to scuttle le­gis­la­tion that most Amer­ic­ans sup­port. Des­pite the is­sue’s na­tion­al ap­peal, Toomey and Manchin’s amend­ment to ex­pand back­ground checks to gun shows and In­ter­net sales was op­posed by four Sen­ate Demo­crats and at­trac­ted the sup­port of only four Re­pub­lic­ans, thus fail­ing to reach the 60 votes needed to avoid a fili­buster.

The United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll, con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al, sur­veyed 1,003 adults by land­line and cell phone from Nov. 21-24. The mar­gin of er­ror was plus or minus 3.6 per­cent­age points.


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