Support from the Gun Lobby Is a Political Liability and Not an Advantage for Candidates in 2018; An Overwhelming Majority of Voters Prefer a Candidate Who Does Not Take Money From the Gun Lobby, Poll Finds
Enthusiasm Gap Has Flipped: Single-Issue Gun Safety Voters Now Outnumber Single-Issue Voters Who Oppose Gun Safety Laws By a Remarkable Two to One Ratio
NEW YORK – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund released new polling, which finds that NRA support is a political liability for candidates heading into next week’s midterm election. Significantly, 67 percent of voters prefer a candidate who does not take money from the gun lobby, whereas voters indicate they will reward candidates who support gun violence prevention policies. Notably, the survey was conducted before the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which eleven people were shot and killed.
On behalf of Everytown for Gun Safety, Hart Research Associates conducted a national survey among 1,200 likely voters with a focus on the issue of gun policies and its impact on voters’ choices in this year’s elections. The survey was conducted online from October 20 to 24, 2018. A polling memo can be found here.
“This poll is just the latest proof that Americans have finally had enough of the divisive rhetoric and dangerous policies being peddled by the NRA and all of the politicians who have done its bidding for far too long,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Voters are tired of empty words and inaction, and next week this poll suggests they will elect leaders willing to stand up to the gun lobby and do something to prevent tragedies like the Pittsburgh shooting from claiming more American lives.”
“There’s a reason I founded an organization aimed at empowering mothers to take on the NRA in the wake of the the Sandy Hook School shooting: as a mom of five, I knew that there’s no more important issue than our families’ safety,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Our goal has always been to make gun safety a top voting priority for American women, and this poll proves that that’s happening. This year, when women go to the polls, we’ll vote to send a strong message to elected officials: Protect our families or lose your job.”
- Single-issue gun safety voters now outnumber single-issue voters who oppose gun safety laws by a two-to-one ratio, thus reversing the “enthusiasm gap” among voters on gun issues. Gun violence prevention voters outnumber NRA voters by three to one in suburban communities and by five to one among suburban women.
- If voters learn that a candidate had accepted campaign donations from the NRA, they report this would reduce (41 percent) rather than increase (16 percent) their likelihood of supporting the candidate.
- Voters who favor stricter gun laws are ten points more likely to say gun safety is a very important voting issue (47 percent) than those who do not favor stricter gun laws (37 percent).
- When asked how a candidate’s support for eight different gun violence reduction policies would affect their support for a candidate, 59 percent or more say they would be more likely to support the candidate.
- 61 percent of voters say candidates should give more attention to the gun violence prevention issue. This sentiment is especially strong among suburban women (72 percent), women over 50 (70 percent), women of color (75 percent) and white college-educated women (65 percent).
- 72 percent of voters, including majorities of Democrats (89 percent), independents (66 percent) and Republicans (56 percent) say that dealing with gun violence should be a high priority for the new Congress when it takes office in January.
While the NRA’s favorability ratings are underwater for the first time since 2000, the NRA recently took down its database of past candidate grades because “our enemies were using that,” effectively admitting the NRA brand is a liability ahead of next week’s midterms.
Fortunately, more than 3,000 candidates have sought and received a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction demonstrating their commitment to run on their gun violence prevention credentials. More than half of these candidates are women and one in five is a person of color. The distinction is being used by candidates in their campaign materials ― in radio and TV ads, on social media and mail pieces, and more.