Pew Poll: Mixed Reactions to Senate Gun Vote and Democrats Mostly “Disappointed”
The gun issue, it’s assumed, could be a vote-determiner come November due to the passionate feelings on both sides. But a new Pew Research Poll suggests a bit more nuance in the reactions to the failure of the latest attempt a gun control: reactions predictably according to partisan lines and Democrats more “disappointed” than actually outraged.
Which suggests that the greater, more mobilizing passion remains on the anti-gun control side.
The key Senate vote that halted gun control legislation last week is drawing a mixed reaction from the American public: 47% express negative feelings about the vote while 39% have a positive reaction to the Senate’s rejection of gun control legislation that included background checks on gun purchases. Overall, 15% say they are angry this legislation was voted down and 32% say they are disappointed. On the other side, 20% say are very happy the legislation was blocked, while 19% say they are relieved.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post, conducted April 18-21 among 1,002 adults, finds a wide partisan gap in reactions. Just over half of Republicans are either very happy (29%) or relieved (23%) that the legislation was voted down, though roughly a third of Republicans say they are either disappointed (26%) or angry (8%). Among Democrats, fully two-thirds (67%) express negative sentiments about the legislation’s failure, with more saying they are disappointed (41%) than angry .(26%).
Republicans and Democrats paid equally close attention to the gun debate last week: 40% across party lines say they tracked the events very closely, making it the second most closely followed story last week, after the terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon. About half of those who followed news about the gun control debate very closely last week had particularly strong reactions to the Senate vote – 31% say they are very happy about the outcome while 22% are angry. Among those who followed news about the debate less closely, only about a quarter offered such strong reactions.
The overall balance of positive and negative reactions to the Senate vote tracks more closely to earlier measures of the public’s broad views on gun control than to attitudes toward background checks specifically. A Pew Research Center/USA TODAY survey in February found the public divided over whether gun control (50%) or gun rights (46%) should be the higher priority. By contrast, making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks was supported by an 83% to 15% margin in the February survey.
And we all know how influential these polling numbers were in the end.
If many members of Congress have to choose between voter sentiment and campaign contributions, guess which one they’ll choose?