PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans' immediate reaction to President Barack Obama's proposals for new laws designed to reduce gun violence is more positive than negative, with 53% saying they would want their representative in Congress to vote for the set of proposed new laws, while 41% say their representative should vote against them.
These results are from Gallup polling conducted Thursday, Jan. 17, the day after Obama's announcement. The question asked Americans about the "set" of new laws, even though in reality, to the extent the House and the Senate pursue these proposals, it could be on a one-by-one basis. The results suggest that Obama begins his campaign for passage of the laws with a majority -- but not a supermajority -- of the public behind him.
The question explicitly identified the gun proposals as those that President Obama announced on Wednesday, making it not surprising to find that the strongest support for the proposals comes among Democrats and liberals, and the weakest support comes among Republicans and conservatives. Additionally, groups that traditionally lean more Democratic -- nonwhites, Easterners, and those with postgraduate educations -- are significantly above average in support.
The Obama administration has made the enactment of new laws designed to reduce gun violence a major short-term emphasis in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Americans' general support for stricter gun control laws surged after Newtown, and previous research has shown significant support for elements of the Obama proposals, including background checks and bans on high-capacity ammunition clips.
Now, the administration has put forth a concrete set of proposals on gun violence, and Americans' initial reaction to the idea of their being passed into law is generally positive. Fifty-three percent want their member of Congress to vote for that set of laws, but a substantial minority, 41%, want their member to vote against it. The highly partisan reaction to the proposal among rank-and-file Americans underscores what is likely to be a highly partisan political negotiation in the Senate and in the House in the weeks and months ahead.
Explore President Obama's approval ratings in depth and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 17, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,021 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 500 cellphone respondents and 500 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.