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New Polling Highlights Need for Pennsylvania Candidates to Focus on Gun Safety in 2024

New Data Shows Giffords PAC’s Pennsylvania Gun Safety Ads Were Key to Senator Fetterman’s Victory

Philadelphia, PA — Today, Giffords released new polling showing that preventing gun violence is a top concern for Pennsylvania voters and that Giffords’ gun safety ads in Pennsylvania attacking Republican Mehmet Oz’s opposition to background checks were key to Senator John Fetterman’s victory. The polling also demonstrates gun safety has become a winning issue in Pennsylvania. 

The research conducted by Global Strategy Group found that Giffords’ gun safety advertisements helped flip the crime narrative on its head. Pensylvannians who live in the media market where Giffords’ gun safety ads ran had a much higher degree of awareness about Oz’s opposition to background checks than those who live elsewhere. Additionally, the research shows Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly support stronger gun laws, and Democrats must continue to focus on this issue heading into 2024. 


Peter Ambler, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Giffords:

“Families across the country want their leaders to prevent gun violence and nowhere is that more true than in Pennsylvania where voters sent John Fetterman to the US Senate because they trust him to pursue stronger gun safety laws. They refused to support Dr. Oz after learning he opposes commonsense gun reforms like universal background checks. It’s clear that Republican attacks on crime fall on deaf ears when Republican candidates refuse to do anything to prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals. We’re proud to have helped elect John Fetterman, and we will continue to support candidates who are committed to keeping Pennsylvania safe.” 

Preventing gun violence was a top priority for Pennsylvania voters in this election. Gun violence (77% important) is one of only a handful of issues tested that three-quarters of voters deemed important in this election. Pennsylvania voters are as concerned about kids in their community returning home safely from school (54%) as they are about being able to pay the bills (53%), and among voters in Philadelphia, it is an even greater concern (57% concerned about kids returning home safely, 54% concerned about paying the bills).

Pennsylvanians want stronger gun laws, and they trust Democrats to deliver on them. Pennsylvania voters want stronger gun laws by a two-to-one margin (63% stronger/28% less strong), including 76 percent of suburban women and 71 percent of voters in the Philadelphia media market. And they trust Democrats like Fetterman more than Republicans like Oz to reduce gun violence (55% Fetterman and Democrats/45% Oz and Republicans), especially in Philadelphia (67% Fetterman and Democrats/33% Oz and Republicans). Half of the electorate violence (77% important) is one of only a handful of issues tested that three-quarters of voters deemed important in this election. In fact, half of the electorate would never vote for a candidate who opposes commonsense gun safety reforms like background checks on all gun sales (50%). 

Giffords’ gun safety ads broke through the noise. Giffords attacked Oz’s opposition to background checks with the ad “We’ve Watched,” informing voters about how Oz would put their communities at risk. Fifty-eight percent of Philadelphia voters remember hearing ads about Oz’s record on gun violence, and 51 percent recall hearing about his record on crime, compared to 43 percent and 38 percent, respectively, outside of the market. And the core message resonated: over two-thirds of Philadelphia voters went to the polls with the knowledge that Oz opposes background checks (67%)—17 points more than voters outside the market (50%) in areas where Giffords didn’t run ads. 

Giffords’ gun safety ads flipped the crime narrative on its head. Republicans unleashed a barrage of crime attacks on Fetterman that were sinking his vote share and could not be left unanswered. Philadelphia voters who heard Giffords’ message ultimately trusted Fetterman, and Democrats to help them with crime more than Oz and Republicans (64% Fetterman/36% Oz, compared to 41% Fetterman/59% Oz among those who did not hear)—breaking the common narrative that Democrats are weak on crime—and giving Fetterman an overwhelming advantage in the vote (64% Fetterman/35% Oz, compared to 42% Fetterman/55% Oz among those who did not hear).

Pennsylvania was a top priority for Giffords PAC in 2022. The organization hosted key campaign events throughout the cycle, including a gun safety forum during the primary to provide candidates with a meaningful opportunity to directly engage voters and present their plans to address the state’s gun violence epidemic. Giffords PAC also spent $2.5 million on TV and digital ads in the state. Earlier this year Giffords conducted polling earlier this year that shows Pennsylvania voters support stronger gun laws. Giffords PAC endorsed Senator John Fetterman, as well as Governor Josh Shapiro and congressional candidates running in the state for their commitment to lifesaving gun safety laws.


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