Blog

Voters Demand Background Checks

100219_GiffordsMFOL_Forum_LasVegas_NV_CD_0034
An attendee at the 2020 Gun Safety Forum co-hosted by Giffords, March For Our Lives, and MSNBC stands in front of a "Gun Safety Voters" backdrop.

Persuadable voters in both the primary and general election are looking for a president who will act on background checks.

According to a new poll conducted by Global Strategy Group, 88% of uncommitted Democratic primary voters support strengthening our gun laws, and 59% of them rate this as a top priority. More specifically, a majority of both these uncommitted primary voters (79%) and general election independent voters (63%) believe “requiring background checks on all gun sales” should be a candidate’s top priority. Requiring background checks on gun sales tops protecting our environment, cutting taxes on the middle class, eliminating tax breaks for corporations, and eight other policies that were tested.

While some policies divide voters along partisan lines, background checks are a uniting force.

Background checks are the key litmus test for uncommitted voters among primary and general election independents. Majorities of uncommitted primary voters (73%) and general election voters (56%) say they could never vote for a candidate who doesn’t support universal background checks.

Overwhelming majorities of all parties (94% of Democrats, 91% of Independents and 87% of Republicans), gun owners (86%), and suburban women (95%) all support background checks. Democratic candidates for president benefit among primary voters by focusing on background checks and extreme risk protection orders, not the mandatory buyback of assault weapons. When primary voters are presented with a series of hypothetical profiles for candidates, they overwhelmingly prefer a Democrat who focuses on background checks to one who simply mentions guns or one who focuses on mandatory gun buybacks.

Voters want stronger gun laws, with background checks at the top of the list.

Voter skepticism about mandatory buybacks is fueled by the belief that we need to focus on solutions that are proven to work and have broad agreement across party lines. Voters agree: it is unconscionable that leaders in Washington allow more kids to die from gun violence than on-duty police officers or US military members. That’s why it’s so important to first rely on effective strategies that are proven to work and have near universal appeal.