Americans Are Divided On Who Is Responsible For Mass Shootings

New Ipsos/USA Today poll: In wake of tragedies in Texas and Ohio, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to blame racism and loose gun laws

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, August 6, 2019 — A new Ipsos poll, conducted on behalf of USA Today, finds that Americans ascribe responsibility for mass shootings, including the recent tragedies in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, to a range of culprits. More Americans place blame on the mental health system (73% say responsible), racism and white nationalism (69%), and loose gun laws (67%) than they do to gun manufacturers and the NRA (55%), violent video games (51%) or President Donald Trump (50%). Partisanship is rife, with Republicans inclined to blame the mental health system (77%) and violent video games (60%) while Democrats blame racism and white nationalism (84%), loose gun laws (83%), and President Donald Trump (74%).

In the aftermath of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, 15% of Americans report feeling unsafe in public spaces. One quarter of Americans have made plans with their family about what to do in the event of a mass shooting, and 21% skipped public events where there would be a lot of people because of mass shooting in the United States over the last few years.

When it comes to increased gun purchase background check bills, most Americans are in favor of moving forward with these bills. The majority of Americans (52%) believe that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should cancel the current August recess to hold hearings and votes on the bills previously passed in the US House of Representatives to tighten background checks for gun purchases but not yet considered in the Senate. Moreover, 67% of Americans want the US Senate to pass the increased background check bills.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 5-6, 2019 on behalf of USA Today. For this survey, a sample of roughly 1,004 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 446 Democrats, 392 Republicans, and 100 Independents. 

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) 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 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc 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 3.5 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=1,004, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).

The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.3 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 5.6 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 11.2 percentage points for Independents.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Mallory Newall
Director, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

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.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs