Partisan polarity dims chances of reducing gun violence, poll finds

 National Rifle Association members applaud a speech during the annual meeting of members at the NRA convention in April in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP file photo)

National Rifle Association members applaud a speech during the annual meeting of members at the NRA convention in April in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP file photo)

The latest Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll finds that partisan politics are a major factor in views about gun violence.

 

Nearly 60 percent of Republicans questioned in the nationwide survey believe more guns are the best way to reduce mass shootings in America while 82 percent of Democrats favor more regulation, according to Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Dan Cassino, an analyst for the poll.

 

“Republicans see gun control as an abridgement of civil liberties, as a constitutional problem,” he said. “Whereas Democrats see it much more as a solution to a pressing social issue.”

Two-thirds of the Republicans surveyed believe terrorism is a greater threat to themselves and their families than gun violence, Cassino said.

“Whereas among Democrats, gun violence seems like a much more immediate threat to them,” he said. “Part of that, of course, is due to the fact that Democrats are much more likely to be African-Americans for whom gun violence is even a bigger threat within their communities.”

Cassino said Republicans are less likely than Democrats that know that gun violence was responsible for more deaths than terrorism in the U.S. in the past 10 years, and the images of 9/11 may still influence those views.

“It is more about these images we have in our head about what is the more pressing concern,” he said. “So you’d think that there would be at least agreement on the problem, ‘Oh there’s a lot of gun violence in the country.’ But if we don’t even have an agreement on that, then it’s impossible

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.