Most voters think the National Rifle Association supports policies that are bad for the country, new polling finds, as an increasing share favor stricter gun laws.
In a Quinnipiac University National Poll conducted after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, 51 percent of voters said the NRA supports policies that are bad for the U.S. That’s an uptick from October, when the poll found that 47 percent of respondents thought the NRA supported bad policies.
Conversely, the share of respondents who said the NRA supports policies that are good for the U.S. fell from 43 percent in October’s poll to 38 percent in February’s poll.
Perception of the NRA is strongly partisan. Eighty percent of Republicans believe the NRA supports policies that are good for the U.S., while just 8 percent believe the opposite, according to Quinnipiac. Among Democrats, those proportions are nearly inverted, with only 9 percent saying the NRA supports policies that are good for the country and 83 percent saying the opposite. The NRA also has a notably higher unfavorable rating among black people than among whites in the Quinnipiac poll: Eighty percent of black people said the group supports policies that are bad for the U.S., compared to 48 percent of white people.
Meanwhile, an SSRS poll conducted for CNN in the wake of the Parkland shooting found a more even split in the public’s current thoughts on the gun-rights group: Forty-nine percent said their opinion of the NRA is generally unfavorable, while 46 percent said it is generally favorable.
The results come less than two weeks after a gunman killed 17 students and adults at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, using an AR-15 rifle he purchased legally. The shooting has sparked a nationwide debate, led by many passionate young activists, on how to prevent such tragedies in the future.
Both polls tracked conspicuous highs in support for stricter gun control laws.
In the Quinnipiac poll, 66 percent of respondents favored stricter laws, up from 60 percent who responded favorably in October.
CNN’s poll found even more support for stronger gun control laws, with 70 percent of respondents saying they would favor such reform. That’s the highest proportion of respondents favoring stricter gun control the poll has found in the past five years, and a sharp increase from October, when just 52 percent of those polled supported more restrictions.
Public opinion also seems to be leaning against the sale of assault-style weapons.
Asked whether they would support or oppose a nationwide ban on the sale of “assault weapons,” 67 percent of respondents in the Quinnipiac poll said they would favor such a move ― a record high since Quinnipiac began polling on this question in the wake of the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
CNN opted for a more specific line of questioning, asking respondents whether they would favor or oppose a ban on the “manufacture, sale and possession of rifles capable of semi-automatic fire, such as the AR-15.” Fifty-seven percent said they would favor a ban. That’s up from October, when 49 percent of respondents said they would favor it.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,249 voters across the U.S. between Feb. 16 and Feb. 19. The CNN/SSRS poll surveyed 1,016 Americans between Feb. 20 and Feb. 23.
Both polls questioned respondents via landlines and cellphones.