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Support for Stricter Gun Laws Rises in Newtown Shooting Aftermath

 

 

CBS NEWS POLL

For release: Monday, December 17, 2012

6:30 pm ET

 

Support for Stricter Gun Laws Rises in Newtown Shooting Aftermath

December 14-16, 2012

 

Support for stricter gun control laws is now the highest it’s been in a decade, and has surged 18 points since the spring of this year. The poll was conducted in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

 

57% of Americans now say gun control laws should be made more strict, up from 39% in April.  Support for stricter laws is now higher than in a CBS News Poll conducted after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011. 47% backed stricter gun laws then, but that figure dropped off in polling conducted about a year after the incident.

 

While more than half want tighter gun laws, three in 10 think laws covering guns should be kept as they are. Only 9% think gun laws should be less strict.

 

Gun Control Laws Should be…

                                                Now     4/2012 1/2011 11/2003          10/2002

More strict                               57%     39%     47%    51%                56%

Less strict                                 9         13        12       10                   11

Kept as they are                      30        41        36       35                   30

 

Still, fewer than half of Americans (42%) think stricter gun laws would have helped prevent the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary.36% felt that way after the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, but after the incident at Virginia Tech in 2007, more than half of Americans said tighter gun laws would have done a lot or a little to prevent that shooting.

 

How Much Would Stricter Gun Laws Have Done to Prevent the…?

                                                                        1/2011             4/2007

Newtown         Giffords           Virginia

Shooting          Shooting          Tech shooting

A lot                 26%                 18%                 32%

A little              16                    18                    21

No effect         50                    58                    43

 

Views on gun control and its possible impact on the Newtown shooting differ by political party.  Most Democrats support stricter gun control laws and think they would have done at least something to prevent the violence at the elementary school in Newton. On the other hand, fewer Republicans favor stricter gun control measures, and most think tighter laws would have done nothing to prevent what happened in Newton.

 

Views on Gun Control by Political Party

                                                                        Reps    Dems  Inds

Gun Control Laws Should be…

More strict                                           38%     78%     48%

Less strict                                            14        5         11

Kept as is                                            41        14        37


Reps    Dems  Inds

Would Stricter Gun Laws Have

Prevented Newton Shooting?

A lot or a little                                      24%     57%     38%

No effect                                             71        31        56

 

There are also regional differences on the issue of gun control. Support for tougher measures is highest in the Northeast and West. Those in the Midwest and South are less likely to back stricter gun control laws.

 

Gun Control Laws Should be…

                                    Total    Northeast        Midwest           South   West

More strict       57%     66%                 54%                 45%     68%

Less strict        9         10                    10                    10        7

Kept as is        30        20                    32                    39        20

 

In the days following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, just over a third of Americans  feel schools in their community are extremely or very safe, but that is higher than the percentage who say that about U.S. schools overall.

 

How Safe are Schools…?

In the               In your

U.S.                 Community

Extremely/very                       22%                 36%

Somewhat                               50                    44

Not too/not at all                      28                    17

 

Opinions on the safety of schools in one’s own community have changed little over the years.

 

How Safe Are Schools in Your Community?

                                                Now                 4/2000             4/1999

Extremely/very           36%                 37%                 32%

Somewhat                   44                    46                    48

Not too/not at all          17                    15                    15

 

Parents’ views on gun control laws and school safety are similar to those of Americans overall.

 

News of the school shooting in Connecticut has captured the attention of the American public. More than nine in 10 have heard or read at least something about it, including 69% who have heard a lot about the shooting.

 

Heard About School Shooting in Newtown, CT?

A lot                                         69%

Some                                      26

Not much/nothing                    4

______________________________________________________________________

This poll was conducted by telephone from December 14-16, 2012 among 620 adults nationwide.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.  The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus four percentage points.  The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

CBS NEWS POLL

Support for Stricter Gun Laws Rises

December 14-16, 2012

 

q26 In general, do you think gun control laws should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?

 

** TOTAL RESPONDENTS   **

*** Party ID ***

Total   Rep     Dem     Ind               Apr12b

%       %       %      %                  %

More strict                   57      38     78      48                 39

Less strict                    9      14      5      11                 13

Kept as they are now          30      41     14      37                 41

DK/NA                          4       7      4       3                 6

q63 How much have you heard or read about the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut,–a lot, some, not much, or nothing at all?

 

A lot                         69      69     77      62

Some                          26      29     19      32

Not much                       3       2      3       4

Nothing at all                 1       0      1       2

 

q64 Do you think that stricter gun control laws would have done a lot to prevent the violence that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, done a little, or had no effect on preventing the violence in the school in Newtown, Connecticut?

 

A lot                         26      11     36      25

A little                      16      13     21      13

Had no effect                 50      71     31      56

It depends(Vol.)               3       2      4       2

DK/NA                          5       2      8       4

 

q65 In general, do you feel the schools in the United States are extremely safe, very safe, somewhat safe, not too safe or not at all safe?

 

Extremely safe                 5       4      6       5

Very safe                     17      20     19      12

Somewhat safe                 50      52     43      55

Not too safe                  18      13     20      20

Not at all safe               10      10     11       8

DK/NA                          0       0      1       0

 

q66 In general, do you feel the schools in your community are extremely safe, very safe, somewhat safe, not too safe or not at all safe?

 

Apr99d

Extremely safe                 8       4     10       9                 8

Very safe                     28      31     26      29                 29

Somewhat safe                 44      51     40      43                 46

Not too safe                  10       5     14      10                 10

Not at all safe                7       7      8       7                 5

DK/NA                          2       3      2       1                 3

 

 

UNWEIGHTED        WEIGHTED

Total Respondents             620

 

Total Republicans             159               152 (24%)

Total Democrats               230               233 (36%)

Total Independents            231               247 (40%)

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