More Americans support than oppose President Barack Obama's suite of proposals to reduce gun violence, but many are skeptical that they would be effective at preventing future mass shootings, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
Forty-six percent of respondents to the survey said they either strongly or somewhat favor the proposals, while 40 percent were strongly or somewhat opposed. Support for the proposals was deeply divided along party lines: Democrats favored the proposals 77 percent to 11 percent, while Republicans opposed 77 percent to 12 percent. Independents were more likely to oppose than to favor the proposals, 47 percent to 34 percent.
A Gallup poll released last week also found more support than opposition to the proposals, with 52 percent saying they would want their representative in Congress to vote for the proposals and 41 percent saying they would want their representative to vote against.
But the Huffpost/YouGov survey found divided opinions as to whether the proposals would effectively prevent shootings like the one in Newtown, Conn., that instigated the proposals. Only 10 percent of respondents said that the proposals would be very effective at preventing future mass shootings if enacted, while 29 percent said they would be somewhat effective, 15 percent said they would be not very effective and 32 percent said they would be not at all effective. (The survey only asked whether the proposals would be effective at preventing mass shootings, not other types of gun violence.)
The survey questions did not delve into the details of Obama's proposals, so responses were based on what respondents had already read or heard about the proposals or the respondents' preconceptions. Americans are following the issue fairly closely, according to the new poll: 48 percent say they've heard a lot about the proposals, 39 percent have heard a little, and 8 percent have heard nothing at all, while another 5 percent say they're not sure. Asked to rate how well they understand the proposals, 29 percent said very well, 38 percent said fairly well, 15 percent said not too well, 9 percent said not at all well, and another 9 percent weren't sure.
The survey also found that support for stricter gun laws has remained high since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, with 53 percent now saying gun laws should be more strict, 30 percent saying there should be no change, and 12 percent saying gun laws should be less strict. Two prior HuffPost/YouGov polls conducted since the shooting also found support for stricter gun laws above 50 percent, and other recent polls have likewise found more support for stricter gun laws since the shooting.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 17-18 among 1,000 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, though that inherent variation does not take into account other potential sources of error, including statistical bias in the sample. The poll used a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance. Additional crosstabs for the poll are available here.