In yet another indication that more gun laws could be a political loser, a new poll released March 31 shows a strong majority of likely voters think stricter gun control is a bad idea, the highest level of skepticism toward firearms restrictions in two years.
According the Rasmussen poll conducted in late March, only 40 percent of likely voters think the government should strengthen gun laws, while 53 percent are opposed to enacting new legislation. Overall the percentage of likely voters who want more gun control has dropped 9 percent in almost a year, Rasmussen says.
And while support for banning the purchase of so-called “assault rifles” stands at 49 percent, opposition to rifle bans reached 42 percent, “the first time opposition has topped the 40 percent mark,” Rasmussen says. Women are more than twice as likely to support semi-auto rifle bans as men, the results show.
Release of the survey comes as several Northeastern states — including New York and Connecticut — are implementing new gun restrictions this month, while New Jersey Governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie is reportedly trying to roll back momentum on further gun control in his state.
The Rasmussen poll showed deep skepticism over government control of firearms, with 19 percent of those surveyed saying it would be good if only government officials were allowed to have guns. According to the poll, 54 percent of Democrats were opposed to government-only gun ownership, with 84 percent of Republicans opposed.
Overall, likely voters rate President Obama poorly on gun control, with 46 percent saying he’s done a bad job in that area and only 27 percent saying he’s done an “excellent” or “good job” on gun control, in what Rasmussen calls “the worst rating to date.” Just under 75 percent of Republicans rated Obama poorly on gun control, with 53 percent of Democrats saying he’s done a good or excellent job on gun control.