After several mass shootings, gun violence and crime rises in importance for Americans

The FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos 2022 Election Tracking Survey finds that gun violence and crime is now the second most important issue for Americans overall

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • James Diamond Senior Research Manager, Public Affairs
  • Johnny Sawyer Senior Research Analyst
  • Charlie Rollason Senior Research Analyst
  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, June 14, 2022 -- The second release this month for the FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos Election Tracking survey dives into what Americans know about partisanship, what they think drives political polarization, and their ability to predict what people think on the other side of the aisle.

Additionally, following a series of high-profile mass shootings, the second wave of the FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos Election Tracking survey finds gun violence and crime is now the second most important issue to Americans personally. While inflation still ranks as the main issue, gun violence and crime increased significantly as a problem for the public over the past month. Growing concern among Democrats largely drives this month-over-month change, despite decisive majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents all frequently seeing news about gun violence and crime. Conversely, few see abortion as a main issue.

Click the following to read more: 

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/3-in-10-americans-named-political-polarization-as-a-top-issue-facing-the-country/

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/over-40-percent-of-americans-now-rate-gun-violence-as-a-top-issue/

Detailed Findings

1. Gun violence and crime now rank as the second most important issue for Americans.

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) feel that polarization is driven by political and social elites, with majorities of Republicans (75%) and Democrats (63%) feeling this way.
  • When asked whether statements said by different political elites were extreme, partisan responses mostly fell along predictable lines.
    • For example, 66% of Democrats felt that the following statement was extreme: “Wokeness is a problem, and everyone knows it. It’s hard to talk to anybody today who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud.” By comparison, only 38% of Republicans felt the statement was extreme.
  • To that end, most feel that politicians and political leaders have had an impact on driving political division, with supermajorities of all Americans (84%), Democrats (86%), and Republicans (89%) feeling this way. Wealthy political donors (79%), social media companies (79%), and mainstream media and news (78%) are all also viewed as drivers of political division by most Americans.
  • Though, most feel the United States should actively try to reduce political polarization, with similar shares of Republicans (66%) and Democrats (70%) feeling this should happen.

2. Partisans were reasonably good at predicting what people in the opposing party believed.

  • For example, 29% of Republicans agree that middle and high schools should teach about race and racism in the U.S. On average, Democrats guessed that 19% of Republicans believed this.
  • Similarly, Republicans, on average, estimated that 21% of Democrats agree that there is widespread election fraud in U.S. elections. When asked in the survey, 13% of Democrats actually held this belief.
  • The one place where people couldn’t predict partisan viewpoints was on abortion. When asked how many Republicans believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, on average, Democrats felt that only 30% of Republicans agree with that statement. In actuality, a majority of Republicans (64%) believe this.
    • Republicans also underestimated how many Democrats support abortion under these conditions, with 89% of Democrats supporting this while, on average, Republicans estimated that 68% of Democrats hold this view.

3. Gun violence and crime now rank as the second most important issue for Americans.

  • Two in five Americans (38%) feel gun violence and crime is the most important issue to them personally, moving 18 points from when the question was last asked in May (20%). Notably, inflation is still the top issue overall for Americans, with over half (55%) citing this as a personal problem for them.
  • While this is true, more Americans now report consuming news about crime and gun violence (76%) than inflation (66%). This also represents a substantial increase news consumption about crime and gun violence, as only half of Americans (50%) had seen crime and gun violence frequently on the news in early May.

4. Crime and gun violence has grown more as an issue for Democrats than Republicans or independents.

  • Last month, 29% of Democrats felt crime and gun violence was an issue that was personally worrying to them. Now, almost double the amount of Democrats feel the same, with half of Democrats (50%) citing crime and gun violence as a main worry.
  • For comparison, 27% of Republicans and 37% of independents feel crime and gun violence is a major worry for them. Last month, 17% of Republicans and independents felt the same.
  • Despite the wide gap between Democrats and Republicans on crime and gun violence, majorities of Democrats (85%), Republicans (72%), and independents (72%) have seen crime and gun violence a lot in the news.

5. Despite the breaking news surrounding abortion in the past month, Americans still do not view it as a major issue.

  • In May, a leak from the Supreme Court indicated the Supreme Court’s willingness to overturn the landmark Roe vs. Wade case, which guarantees abortion as a constitutional right.
  • Yet, only one in ten Americans rank abortion as a main issue overall, moving only 5 points month-over-month.
  • Few Democrats (12% personally vs. 13% for the country), Republicans (11% vs. 8%), or independents (8% vs. 8%) rank abortion as a main issue for them personally or for the country.
  • Though, more than twice the number of Americans had frequently seen news about abortion (23% in May vs. 53% in June), making it the third most seen topic following inflation and gun violence and crime.
  • A bare majority of Democrats (56%), Republicans (54%), and independents (50%) report frequently seeing news about abortion in the past month.

 

Washington, DC, June 9, 2022 -- Following a series of high-profile mass shootings, the second wave of the FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos Election Tracking survey finds gun violence and crime is now the second most important issue to Americans personally. Inflation still ranks higher than gun violence as the main issue. But, over the past month, gun violence and crime increased significantly as a problem for the public. Growing concern among Democrats largely drives this month-over-month change, despite decisive majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents all frequently seeing news about gun violence and crime. Conversely, few see abortion as a main issue.

Click here to read more: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/over-40-percent-of-americans-now-rate-gun-violence-as-a-top-issue/

Detailed Findings

1. Gun violence and crime now rank as the second most important issue for Americans.

  • Two in five Americans (38%) feel gun violence and crime is the most important issue to them personally, moving 18 points from when the question was last asked in May (20%). Notably, inflation is still the top issue overall for Americans, with over half (55%) citing this as a personal problem for them.
  • While this is true, more Americans now report consuming news about crime and gun violence (76%) than inflation (66%).
  • Overall, compared to last month, more Americans report seeing news related to crime and gun violence. Half of Americans (50%) had seen crime and gun violence frequently on the news in early May. Now three in four Americans (76%) report the same.

2. Crime and gun violence has grown more as an issue for Democrats than Republicans or independents.

  • Last month, 29% of Democrats felt crime and gun violence was an issue that was personally worrying to them. Now, almost double the amount of Democrats feel the same, with half of Democrats (50%) citing crime and gun violence as a main worry.
  • For comparison, 27% of Republicans and 37% of independents feel crime and gun violence is a major worry for them. Last month, 17% of Republicans and independents felt the same. 
  • Despite the wide gap between Democrats and Republicans on crime and gun violence, majorities of Democrats (85%), Republicans (72%), and independents (72%) have seen crime and gun violence a lot in the news. 

3. Despite the breaking news surrounding abortion in the past month, only 10% of Americans feel it is a main issue, a 5-point difference from May. 

  • In May, a leak from the Supreme Court indicated the Supreme Court’s willingness to overturn the landmark Roe vs. Wade case, which guarantees abortion as a constitutional right. 
  • Yet, only one in ten Americans rank abortion as the main issue overall, moving only 5 points month-over-month. 
  • Few Democrats (12% personally vs. 13% for the country), Republicans (11% vs. 8%), or independents (8% vs. 8%) rank abortion as a main issue for them personally or for the country. 
  • Though, twice the number of Americans had frequently seen news about abortion (23% in May vs. 53% in June), making it the third most seen topic following inflation and gun violence and crime.
  • A bare majority of Democrats (56%), Republicans (54%), and independents (50%) report frequently seeing news about abortion in the past month.

 

Washington, DC, May 17, 2022 -- The first of seven polls that will comprise the FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos 2022 Election Tracking Survey finds that inflation is the top concern for American adults. Many report facing negative financial impacts due to rising prices, and in turn, say they have had to make major changes to how they live their life. The poll also explores perceived causes of rising prices and whether the public and private sector should prioritize keeping prices low or employment high.

Click here to read more: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/we-asked-2000-americans-about-their-biggest-concern-the-resounding-answer-inflation/

Detailed Findings

1. Inflation is the top concern for Americans, regardless of their political affiliation.

  • Americans rate inflation as both the top concern for them personally (51%) and the country at large (52%). This is true across Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
  • Political extremism or polarization is consistently a second tier issue, though other second tier issues vary by party identification. Democrats are more concerned about crime or gun violence and climate change, and Republicans are more concerned about immigration, the government budget/debt, and election fraud.
  • Largely, respondents say that the issues that most impact the country and the issues that personally impact them most are in line.
    • More say immigration (20% vs. 14%), the government budget (18% vs. 13%), and COVID-19 (15% vs. 11%) is a concern for country than themselves.
    • More Republicans say immigration is an important issue for the country than something that worries them personally (35% vs. 25%).

2. Inflation is a salient issue that many Americans report is impacting their financial situation and life choices. That said, misconceptions exist.

  • Nearly two in three Americans report having seen inflation in the news over the past month.
  • A majority (55%) think that gas prices have seen the largest increase in price over the past year when compared to food (37%), electricity (2%), and clothing (<1%).
  • Across a series of true or false questions, many have misconceptions about inflation. For example, a majority (51%) incorrectly believe inflation is at its highest point since World War II, and a plurality (43%) incorrectly believe American gas prices are among the highest in the world.
  • A narrow majority (52%) say their financial situation is about the same today as it was a year ago. Another 32% say it’s worse, while just 12% say it’s better.
  • Many (41%) say they have made major changes to their life because of cost increases.

3. The largest share of Americans — across the political spectrum — blame supply chain breakdowns for rising prices. However, differences exist by party.

  • Supply chain breakdowns (78%) are most believed to have had the largest impact on price increases over the past year, followed by COVID-19 (70%).
  • Democrats are more likely than Republicans and independents to cite businesses trying to make profits, uncompetitive industries, COVID-19, and conflicts in other countries as driving prices up. Meanwhile, Republicans are more likely to blame the government’s spending on COVID, the Federal Reserve’s policies, and workers’ rising wages.

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  • Americans are somewhat torn over whether the President and Congress should prioritize keeping prices low or keeping people employed — with slightly more preferring they prioritize keeping prices low.
    • Republicans are more likely than Democrats to think President Biden and Congress should prioritize keeping prices low than people employed.
  • A majority, however, believe the Fed (56%) should prioritize keeping prices low and businesses (54%) should prioritize keeping people employed.

4. Roughly four in ten American adults say they are certain or almost certain to vote in the midterms. Among this group, slightly more indicate they plan to vote for a Republican than a Democrat.

  • Four in ten (42%) say they are certain or almost certain to vote while 20% say they are very likely.
  • Another 11% say they are not likely to vote, 9% indicate they are not registered, and 8% say they don’t know yet.
  • Among those who self-report they are certain to vote, 40% intend to vote for a Republican candidate while 35% intend to vote for a Democratic candidate.
  • Americans’ favorability of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress is the same (34% each).

Methodology

This Ipsos poll was conducted May 26 – June 6, 2022, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,691 adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 484 Democrats, 501 Republicans, and 706 Independents.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The study was conducted in English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, race/ethnicity by gender, race/ethnicity by age, and race/ethnicity by education. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) except for the metropolitan status, which is not available from the 1-year ACS data, were obtained from the 2020 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS).

The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–25, 26–39, 40-54 and 55+)
  • Race-Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, Asian, Other)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) by Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (under $25K, $25K-$49,999, $50K-$74,999, $75K-$99,999, $100K-$149,999, $150K and over)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, Asian) by Gender (Male, Female)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, Asian) by Age (18-44, 45+)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, Asian) by Education (Some College or less, Bachelor and beyond)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.48. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on other sub-samples. Sampling error is only one potential source of error. There may be other unmeasured non-sampling error in this or any poll. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

About Ipsos

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Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

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The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • James Diamond Senior Research Manager, Public Affairs
  • Johnny Sawyer Senior Research Analyst
  • Charlie Rollason Senior Research Analyst
  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs

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