POLITICS
03/12/2013 01:05 pm ET | Updated Mar 12, 2013

Gun Control Poll Shows Partisan Divide, Background Check Support

Americans are politically divided over gun control, but broadly favor a slate of proposals including background checks for gun sales, according to a poll released Tuesday by The Washington Post and ABC News.

The public split evenly on whether President Barack Obama or congressional Republicans are more trustworthy in handling gun control, with Democrats and Republicans lining up behind their leaders in Washington.

Overall, gun control advocates edged out their opponents. Fifty-two percent of Americans supported stricter gun laws, and 45 percent opposed them, roughly unchanged from a Washington Post/ABC poll taken in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting.

Democrats, however, were significantly more likely than Republicans -- 77 percent versus 29 percent -- to support tighter controls.

Underlying the polarization was far more consensus on some individual gun measures. An overwhelming 90 percent of registered voters in the Post/ABC poll favored a proposal requiring background checks at gun shows, confirming the results of several past surveys. A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found that politicians on either side of the aisle could benefit by coming out in favor of background checks.

Smaller majorities of voters in the Post/ABC poll also backed measures that would make illegal gun sales a federal crime and ban the sale of assault weapons.

Support for the National Rifle Association's proposal to place armed guards in every school was at 48 percent among voters, down 7 points from a Post/ABC poll in January.

The Washington Post/ABC poll surveyed 1,000 adults between March 7 and 10, using live telephone interviews.

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