Poll: Gun Control Slightly Less Prominent as a Voting Issue

(CN) – While registered voters are still concerned about gun control, the issue has cooled down some, according to a new poll.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Thursday finds that 46 percent said gun policy will heavily influence who they vote for in November, down from 59 percent in February when a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida took place.

Broken down in partisan terms, 53 percent of Democrats said gun control was an important issue in the upcoming midterms, a decline from 74 percent in February. Republicans saw a slight decline, with 44 percent saying it would influence their vote, compared to 49 percent previously.

Apart from the two major political parties, independents as well reported less importance of gun control at 42 percent, a 12 percent decline from the previous poll about the issue.

“This finding raises a cautionary flag for voters who want gun policy to be front and center this election cycle,” said Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in a written statement. “Still, a majority of Americans, overall, want stricter gun control, support efforts to curb gun violence over gun rights unlike in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, and believe the Parkland students have already had an impact on the gun reform debate.”

The poll found that 52 percent of all Americans want Congress to prioritize stricter gun control laws, while 27 percent said they don’t think it should be prioritized. While Americans are split on the issue, partisanship plays a large part in the results, as 75 percent of Democrats said gun control was a priority, compared to just 26 percent of Republicans.

Friday marks the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School mass shooting in Colorado, when students nationwide plan to walkout in honor of both Columbine and the Parkland shootings.

According to the poll, 79 percent of Americans think the Parkland students are making an impact on the issue, compared to 18 percent who think they’ve had no effect.

Although Americans are still divided by the partisan split, there is some common ground.

An overwhelming majority of those polled, 91 percent, said they favor funding increases for mental health treatment. Another 86 percent said they favor background checks for guns purchased at gun shows or in private sales.

The survey polled 1,011 American adults April 10-13. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 percent.

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