RELEASE: New Polling of Voters in 6 States Shows Overwhelming Support for Commonsense Gun Legislation

Hillary Clinton Leading in NV, WI, NH, NC, and PA; Democratic Senate Candidates Hold Lead in 4 of 5 States

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released new polling, conducted by Public Policy Polling, of voters in Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In the six battleground states, voters across the aisle expressed strong support for commonsense gun safety legislation, finding that candidates who endorse these policies are set to perform well on Election Day.

Across the six states, voters expressed overwhelming support for expanding background checks on gun purchases; barring those convicted of a hate crime from buying a gun; and prohibiting those convicted of stalking or domestic abuse from buying guns.

“Once again, we have clear and unequivocal evidence that the vast majority of American voters support commonsense gun laws and that candidates who seek to impede progress on this issue do so at the detriment of their political futures,” stated Chelsea Parsons, Vice President of Guns and Crime Policy at CAP Action. “Not only are the efforts of the gun lobby to sway this election with unprecedented levels of spending falling short, but American voters are seeing right through their misleading rhetoric and rejecting their extreme agenda—and are poised to punish those candidates who have adopted it.”

The findings show striking support across party lines for these key gun safety measures. Anywhere from 80 percent to 93 percent of Democrats in these states support them, along with 58 percent to 86 percent of critical independent voters, and even 64 percent to 80 percent of Republicans.

Voters in the six states were surveyed between October 31 and November 1, when early voting had already begun in Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

“Voters in the most important Senate battlegrounds overwhelmingly support commonsense gun legislation,” stated Tom Jenson, director of Public Policy Polling. “A big part of why so many Republican incumbents are vulnerable this year—including some who were not expected to be—is their unwillingness to enact policies that vast majorities of Democratic, Republican, and independent voters alike want passed to help reduce gun violence. In an era when the country is so polarized, this set of issues is unusual because more than 80 percent of voters are in agreement, and it could make a difference in some of these close races.”

On the question of presidential and senatorial races, Secretary Hillary Clinton and Democratic Senate candidates are leading in a majority of the states. Clinton is leading by 2 points to 7 points in Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In Nevada, where the Hispanic vote will have a pivotal role, 65 percent of Hispanics say they would vote for Clinton, while 63 percent of Hispanics say they will also vote for Democratic Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto.

Among the key findings:

  • Republican Senate candidates who have opposed expanding background checks could see that issue hurt them in their elections this fall. By margins of anywhere from 18 points to 28 points, voters say they are less likely to vote for Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) because of their opposition to expanded background checks.
  • In Pennsylvania, on the other hand, where Sen. Pat Toomey (R) has supported background checks on all gun purchases, voters are rewarding him for that stance. Thirty-six percent say his sponsorship of legislation to deal with the issue makes them more likely to vote for him, compared with only 15 percent who consider it to be a negative.
  • Voters are similarly disinclined to vote for Senate candidates who oppose keeping guns out of the hands of known terrorists. By margins of anywhere from 9 points to 30 points, voters say they are less likely to vote for Sen. Blunt, Rep. Heck, Sen. Burr, and Sen. Johnson because of their opposition to preventing known terror suspects from buying guns.
  • The National Rifle Association, or NRA, spent more than $52,000,000 this election cycle. The polls found that voters are, in fact, uncomfortable with the efforts of the gun lobby—especially in Missouri, Nevada, and North Carolina—to try to influence the results of the election. Voters say by a 20 point spread in each of those states that gun groups’ efforts actually make them less likely to support the Republican candidate.

Read the full results and crosstabs for Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Read the memos for each of the polls: Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Read the full memo of all the polls here.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Beatriz Lopez at blopez.af@americanprogressaction.org.