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Majority Support Stricter Gun Laws, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Stark Divides On Views Of Police And Voting Issues

In the wake of multiple mass shootings in the United States, a majority of Americans (54 - 42 percent) support stricter gun laws in a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University national poll of adults released today. Democrats support stricter gun laws 91 - 8 percent. Republicans oppose these laws 74 - 22 percent, and independents oppose them 51 - 44 percent.

Support for stricter gun laws varies widely depending on the measure. Americans:

  • 89 - 8 percent support requiring background checks for all gun buyers;
  • 74 - 21 percent support a so-called "red flag" law, which would allow the police or family members to petition a judge to remove guns from a person that may be at risk for violent behavior;
  • 52 - 43 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons;
  • 51 - 44 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets;
  • 49 - 43 percent oppose repealing a law that gives gun manufacturers broad immunity from being sued by victims of gun violence and their relatives.

As to whether gun violence in the United States is a crisis, 45 percent think it is a crisis, 41 percent say it is a problem but not a crisis, and 12 percent say it's not a problem at all.

"There are mixed feelings on whether gun violence has reached a true crisis point, but a clear consensus on reporting 'the threat next door' before it is too late," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.


Half of Americans (50 percent) say police in the United States are tougher on Black people than on white people, while roughly 4 in 10 Americans (41 percent) say police generally treat Black and white people the same, and 1 percent say police are generally tougher on white people.

The findings are almost the same as an October 2016 poll of adults, in which 48 percent said the police in the U.S. are generally tougher on Black people, 40 percent said police treat Black people and white people the same, and 3 percent said the police are generally tougher on white people.

In today's survey, 79 percent of Black Americans say that police are generally tougher on Black people, while 10 percent say they treat Black and white people the same. White Americans are evenly split, as 46 percent say police are generally tougher on Black people, while 46 percent say police treat Black and white people the same.


More than half of Americans, 55 - 34 percent, say they approve of the way police in the United States are doing their job. That is down slightly from a 60 - 29 percent job approval rating in October of 2016.

There are sharp divides on views of the police, especially among partisan and racial groups. Republicans approve of the way police in the U.S. are doing their job 86 - 8 percent, independents approve 61 - 30 percent, and Democrats disapprove 56 - 31 percent. Black Americans disapprove 63 - 28 percent, while white Americans approve 65 - 27 percent and among Hispanic Americans 46 percent approve while 40 percent disapprove.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 - 21 percent) approve of the way police in their community are doing their job. This is lower than a 2016 survey, when Americans approved 81 - 14 percent of the way police in their communities were doing their job.

"Overall, support for law enforcement takes a hit as police shootings, and the demonstrations they ignite, fill the airwaves and dominate the headlines. Even hometown police are losing ground in America, though they still have the approval of a large majority of Americans," added Malloy.


Americans were asked what they think is a bigger problem in U.S. elections: voter fraud or voter suppression. Nearly half (49 percent) say voter suppression, while just over 4 in 10 (43 percent) say voter fraud. Democrats say 84 - 13 percent that voter suppression is the bigger problem, independents are split with 47 percent saying voter suppression and 44 percent saying voter fraud, and Republicans say 82 - 11 percent that voter fraud is a bigger problem.

Asked whether expanded mail-in ballot access put in place during the 2020 elections because of the pandemic should become permanent, 54 percent of Americans say they support it while 42 percent oppose. Democrats support it 92 - 7 percent, Republicans oppose it 78 - 16 percent, and 52 percent of independents oppose it while 46 percent support it.

While Georgia's new voting law has received considerable attention, 44 percent say they haven't heard enough about it to offer an opinion, while 33 percent have an unfavorable view of it and 22 percent have a favorable view of it.

Americans are split on Major League Baseball's decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to the new voting law passed in Georgia, with 40 percent supporting MLB's decision, 40 percent opposing it, and 20 percent not offering an opinion.

"The national pastime is pulled into the political fray as Americans weigh in on moving the midseason classic out of Georgia," added Malloy.


Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69 - 25 percent) think the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States. The numbers among registered voters are similar (70 - 24 percent), and they mark a record level of support for marijuana legalization since Quinnipiac University began polling on this issue in December of 2012. At that time, 51 percent of registered voters supported it and 44 percent opposed it.

1,237 U.S. adults nationwide were surveyed from April 8th - 12th with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Doug Schwartz, Ph.D. since 1994, conducts independent, non-partisan national and state polls on politics and issues. Surveys adhere to industry best practices and are based on random samples of adults using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones.

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