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NEW GIFFORDS POLL: Over Half of Maine Voters Say They Care About Gun Laws More Now Than In Years Past, Want Their Senators to Pass Stronger Laws to Curb Gun Violence

70% of Mainers Support Universal Background Checks, 64% Say They Would Never Vote for a Candidate Who Opposes Background Checks On Gun Sales 

Washington, DC— Today, Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released new Maine polling that outlines record public backing for H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and indicates growing support among Maine voters for stronger gun safety laws.

As gun deaths in the U.S. reached their highest levels in decades with more than 38,000 Americans dying each year from gun violence — an average of 100 Americans every day; Mainers also expect Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to support background checks.

“The evidence is clear. There are steps that our leaders can take to curb gun violence while respecting the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners across Maine,” said Executive Director Peter Ambler. “Mainers not only overwhelmingly support background checks by large margins, but they also expect Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to use every resource to ensure passage of universal background checks.” 

The study, conducted by Global Strategy Group, surveyed hundreds of 2020 Maine voters, and outlined their preferences around background checks, as well as how likely they would be to support their representatives if they voted in favor of passing similar laws. The polling specifically focused on Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King.  Key toplines include: 

  • Background checks are now a key litmus test for voters. 70% of Mainers, including 63% of gun owners and 75% of persuadable voters support the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, also known as H.R. 8.
  • The majority of Maine voters (64%), including persuadable voters (61%) and gun owners (58%), say they would never vote for a candidate who opposes background checks on all gun sales and transfers.
  • Mainers increasingly care about and support stronger gun laws. 55% of Maine voters say they care more about a candidate’s position on gun laws than they did in years past. 52% of these voters also want stronger federal gun laws.
    • Maine is one of 37 states that is not alerted when a prohibited individual fails a background check when attempting to purchase a firearm in another state.
    • Majorities of Mainers (69%), including Democrats (88%), independents (58%),  Republicans (51%), gun owners  (58%), and persuadable voters (73%) also believe background checks should be required “any time a gun is sold or transferred to a new  person.
  • Maine voters are ready to close loopholes in our current background checks system and prefer background checks on all gun sales and transfers. The majority of voters believe a background check should be completed in a range  of  situations, from when a firearm is gifted or handed down to a family member to when a firearm is sold in a store.
  • Supporting background checks is a winning position in future Senate races. If future  elections  are decided  on  gun  safety, Maine  Democrats – or  independents  who  identify  with Democratic positions – can  close  the  gap. Absent  any  other  information  about  candidates, Mainers are split  on whether they would support a Democrat or Republican in a Senate race (37% Democrat/38% Republican). But when a Republican  candidate  opposes  background  checks,  they  open  up  the  door  to  Democratic  victories.  A Democrat  who supports background checks defeats a Republican who doesn’t by 25 points.

The Maine polling from Global Strategy Group, aligns with recent polling from Everytown and Giffords that shows 93% of Americans support background checks on all gun sales (which is on par with job creation and COVID-19 relief). It also found that 86% of Americans who split their votes between parties agreed that “there is no excuse for the next president and Congress not to pass background checks into law.”