Washington, DC, June 7, 2022 — In the wake of a number of mass shootings, including at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, a new USA Today/Ipsos poll examines whether attitudes toward gun laws have changed over time and what steps, if any, Americans are taking to protect themselves. The poll finds that:
1. A strong majority of Americans believe gun laws should be stricter than they are today, consistent with views over the past five years. Though significant partisan divisions remain, some Republicans have moved back toward favoring stricter gun laws compared to last year.
- Currently, 69% believe gun laws should be more strict than they are today, with 44% saying they should be a lot more strict. This is similar to public opinion last year (65% strict, including 41% a lot more strict, in March 2021).
- Looking at the longer-term trend, support for stricter gun laws has been in the 65%-75% range over the last five years, with a plurality consistently in favor of making gun laws a lot more strict.
- Partisans remain far apart on this issue: 88% of Democrats favor stricter gun laws, compared to 50% of Republicans. Independents are in the middle of the two (67%).
- Though they are far apart, Democrats and Republicans are closer on the issue than they were last year. In 2021, 35% of Republicans said that gun laws should be more strict. At 50%, this year’s data marks a move back toward where Republican attitudes were in 2017 (55%) and 2019 (54%). Over time, Democrats’ views on gun laws have held constant.
2. Americans hold a number of groups or factors responsible for gun violence, namely the mental health system (76%), loose gun laws (64%), and racism and white nationalism (61%).
- Compared to March 2021, when these questions were last asked, more Americans hold loose gun laws responsible (64% now, up from 57%). This shift marks a point of return to views from nearly three years ago (67% in August 2019).
- Slightly more Americans hold Republicans in Congress responsible than they do Democrats (49% vs. 44%, respectively), similar to patterns in past years.
- Two in five (42%) say President Joe Biden bears some responsibility, up from 27% in early 2021. This shift mirrors the weakening of Biden's job approval and overall standing from the beginning of his presidency to now.
- A bare majority hold gun manufacturers and the NRA responsible (52%), and the same is true for violent video games (53%).
3. Most Americans are not altering their behavior as a result of mass shootings.
- Nearly three in five (57%) say they have not talked with their family about what to do if there was a shooting, avoided shopping or attending public events in crowded places, or contacted public officials.
- Eight in ten (81%) report feeling safe in public spaces over the last few weeks, up from 67% last March but in line with public opinion from August 2019 (80%).
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 3-6, 2022 on behalf of USA Today. For this survey, a sample of roughly 1,117 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 488 Democrats, 416 Republicans, and 149 Independents.
The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,117, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.1 percentage points).
The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.4 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 5.9 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 9.8 percentage points for Independents.
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