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New Battleground Poll Shows Vast Majority of Voters Support Pro-Gun Safety Candidates and Policies

Brady Campaign and AFT release poll surveying 11 battleground districts from coast to coast

Washington, D.C., September 28, 2018 - With less than six weeks until Americans take to the polls for the midterm elections, a new poll in battleground districts across the country shows that voters, including firearm owners, are firmly on the side of candidates and policies that will prevent gun violence. The poll, commissioned by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the American Federation of Teachers, found that a vast majority of respondents, even in districts that voted for Donald Trump in 2016, support common-sense policies like universal background checks and providing federal funding to school mental health programs over arming teachers.

Read the toplines memo from Public Policy Polling here
Read the full polling here

“We’ve been hearing voters from coast to coast telling us that gun violence is a top priority for them in 2018, and that they’ll be voting accordingly. This poll clearly backs that up,” stated Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign. “Universal background checks. Banning assault weapons. Extreme risk protection orders. Funding schools instead of arming teachers. These are policies which have widespread support in virtually every corner of America. It is truly shameful that so many elected officials are choosing to stand by the gun lobby and a misguided extremist president. But luckily, we have a tremendous slate of candidates who are willing to fight to end gun violence. Come November, they can count on our support and the support of their voters.”

"As we approach the midterms, battleground state voters are the bellwether, and this poll makes clear: Even in places where President Trump’s approval rating is high, people support candidates who support common-sense gun reform,” stated Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “We hear this from teachers, counselors, school nurses and parents all the time. And the numbers show that Americans are fed up with the gun violence epidemic in our country. Voters are ready for their elected leaders to put kids first. Regular folks—including gun owners—don’t want their tax dollars spent on arming teachers; they want their government to invest in mental health services and other supports for students, to help prevent the next school shooting, not to turn our schools into armed fortresses. Come November, they’re going to vote for people who reflect those values.”

The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling from September 12-20, 2018, in 11 districts: CA-10, CA-25, CA-39, CA-45, CA-48, CA-49, CO-06, NJ-03, NY-19, TX-21, and VA-10.

“We’re seeing that voters across the country have reached a tipping point when it comes to gun safety,” added Jim Williams, Polling Analyst with Public Policy Polling. “We’re finding across the board that strong majorities of voters and gun owners support gun safety policies and are more likely to vote for candidates who support those policies. Gun violence prevention used to be seen as a third rail-type issue in American politics. Now, the opposite is true: voters are fed up and are looking for leaders who support common sense gun violence prevention policies.”

The poll revealed that the vast majority of voters, even in districts with a near majority of Trump supporters, agree that policies to restrict dangerous people from accessing guns and limiting the supply of deadly assault weapons are sound policy. It also showed that candidates who are strong on gun violence prevention have a clear advantage going into the midterm elections, and that running on these issues in battleground states may deliver a pro-gun safety majority in Congress.

Among the results, PPP found that:

  • Across the 11 districts surveyed, 83% to 90% of voters, including 83% to 92% of voters from gun-owning households, support requiring background checks before the sale of any gun. 71% to 76% of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to implement this policy.
  • 61% to 80% of voters (60% to 82% of gun-owning households) support a policy that would allow law enforcement and family members to have guns removed from someone who may be a danger to themselves or others, such as an extreme risk protection order, and 65% to 83% of voters are more likely to support a candidate who would support the policy.
  • 57% to 71% of voters, and 53% to 62% of respondents from gun-owning households, support a nationwide ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. 51% to 66% of voters overall are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the ban.
  • 59% to 71% of voters (55% to 68% of gun-owning households) think that banning assault weapons and bump stocks, requiring background checks on all gun sales, and raising the age of gun ownership to 21 is a better strategy than buying guns, arming teachers, and allowing private citizens and employees to carry hidden, loaded guns in schools. 61% to 76% of voters are more likely to support candidates who feel the same.
  • 72% to 81% of voters, and 68% to 79% of those from gun-owning households, think federal funds would be better spent on mental health programs, drug and violence prevention services, and health and physical education rather than giving the money to gun manufacturers so that schools can arm teachers. 63% to 75% of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who would give funding to these programs instead of arming teachers.

The full poll results can be found here.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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