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Idea of the Day: How Polls Can Keep Up with Americans’ Opinions on Guns

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For years the conventional wisdom has said that “gun control” is a deeply polarizing and divisive issue and that support for stronger gun laws has been declining. In the wake of the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, however, a wealth of new data challenges this conventional wisdom. First, public opinion has shifted significantly. By many measures, support for stronger gun laws has substantially increased. Second, signs of an emerging national consensus on many gun issues—which was actually developing prior to the Newtown shooting—are also evident.

A new CAP issue brief—co-authored by a bipartisan team of pollsters who have each conducted public-opinion research on attitudes toward guns in recent years—hopes to set the record straight and provide tools for polling outlets and reporters going forward. It focuses on three key points:

  • Newtown changed the debate.
  • Much of the pre-Newtown polling missed emerging trends of Americans’ views on gun issues.
  • There is an emerging consensus on guns among the American public.

For more on this topic, please see:

  • What the Public Really Thinks About Guns by Margie Omero, Michael Bocian, Bob Carpenter, Linda DiVall, Diane T. Feldman, Celinda Lake, Douglas E. Schoen, Al Quinlan, Joshua Ulibarri, and Arkadi Gerney

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or lbartolomeo@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice)
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Talk Poverty, faith)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or eshulman@americanprogress.org

Print: Katie Murphy (Legal Progress)
202.495.3682 or kmurphy@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or jmolina@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here