POLITICS
12/14/2014 01:37 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Barely Anyone Thinks The U.S. Has Made Progress On Gun Violence Since Newtown

Two years after the Newtown school shootings, just 9 percent of Americans think the U.S. has gotten better at preventing gun violence, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds.

Sixty-three percent say American society's ability to prevent gun violence hasn't changed, while 18 percent say it's gotten worse since 2012. By a 20-point margin, 47 percent to 27 percent, Americans say most mass shootings in the United States could be prevented.

Nearly 100 school shootings have taken place since Newtown, according to a report sponsored by anti-gun violence groups, while gun control legislation has largely languished in Congress.

Since 2012, Americans have become increasingly likely to prioritize gun rights over gun control. While Americans are still more likely to say gun purchasing laws should be stricter than to say laws should be looser, the post-Newtown consensus appears to have faded somewhat, as has the percentage of Americans favoring stricter gun control laws overall.

A poll of likely voters taken before the 2014 midterms found that 59 percent said it's at least somewhat important for the new Congress to address gun violence, and that 79 percent favored expanding background check laws. Just one in 10, however, named it as one of the two issues most important to them. In the new HuffPost/YouGov poll, a 44 percent plurality of Americans say the media pays too much attention to mass shootings, and a third that media outlets pay about the right amount of attention. Just 12 percent think shootings receive too little coverage.

The issue of gun violence doesn't seem to be one that hits home for most people: Fifty-six percent of Americans say they worry "not so much" or "not at all" that they or someone in their family will be affected by gun violence, while 55 percent say they're not concerned that a mass shooting could happen in their community.

Like opinions on gun control policy, opinions on gun violence more broadly are often divided along party lines. Just a fraction of either party -- 7 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of Republicans -- think society is better at handling gun violence than it was in 2012, but 32 percent of Democrats, and just 10 percent of Republicans, think it's gotten worse.

Democrats are about twice as likely as Republicans to worry at least somewhat about being personally affected by gun violence or a shooting in their community, while Republicans are twice as likely to say shootings get too much media coverage. A 59 percent majority of Democrats, but just a third of Republicans, think most mass shootings could be prevented.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Dec. 9-10 among 1,000 U.S. adults using 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.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the poll's methodology are available here.

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