CNN/Time Poll: Majority approve of Obama and Biden in advance of gun control announcement
January 16th, 2013
11:36 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN/Time Poll: Majority approve of Obama and Biden in advance of gun control announcement

Washington (CNN) - As President Barack Obama announces a package of proposals to limit gun violence, a new national survey indicates that his approval rating may be edging up.

The CNN/Time Magazine/ORC International poll (PDF) also indicates that a majority of Americans support stricter gun control laws in the wake of the shooting rampage at an elementary school in Connecticut.

And according to the survey, nearly six in ten approve of the job Vice President Joe Biden is doing, slightly higher than the number who approve of his boss. The vice president led a task force in the wake of the shootings that came up with specific proposals for the president on how to reduce gun violence in the country.

The president's approval rating stands at 55% in the poll, which was released Wednesday, with 43% saying they disapprove of the job Obama is doing in the White House. The president's approval rating is up three points from mid December CNN/ORC poll that was conducted just days after a suicidal gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Of those who disapprove, 34% say they disapprove because Obama is too liberal, with 7% saying they give the president a thumbs down because he's not liberal enough.

More than nine in ten Democrats approve of the job Obama's doing. That number drops to 51% for independent voters, with just 13% of Republicans approving of the president's performance in office. The poll also indicates a gender gap, with women approving of the job Obama's doing by a 59%-39% margin, and men divided (51%-48%).

The Vice President's approval rating stands at 59%, with 38% saying they disapprove of the job he is doing. Biden's approval rating is up five points from last month. Besides leading the task force on curbing gun violence, Biden also had a high profile role, along with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, in striking a deal that temporarily averted the country going over the fiscal cliff.

According to the poll, 55% favor stricter gun control laws, with 37% saying that they strongly support such laws. Forty-four percent oppose such measures, including 27% who say they strongly oppose stricter gun control laws.

"Those numbers suggest that the change in public opinion in the wake of Newtown may come mostly in the intensity of feelings for and against gun control," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Gun control opponents in the past have developed a reputation for holding stronger views on the issue than supporters of gun control. But in the current poll, about two-thirds of those who favor stricter gun control laws feel strongly about that. That's a bit higher than the six in ten gun control opponents who strongly oppose stricter gun control. How strongly Americans feel about gun control may matter more to the success or failure of legislation tan the overall numbers."

The CNN/Time Magazine poll was conducted by ORC International Monday and Tuesday (Jan. 14-15), with 814 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gun rights • Polls
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Jenni

    People who doubt polling in these posts is kind of funny, considering we just had an election where those that doubted any positive polls for the President and Vice President were wrong. And no one is taking your guns away, again. Regulating, yes. Taking away all guns, no.

    January 16, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    My rights under the 2nd ammendment are not to be decided by referrendum. Just like the so-called "right" to an abortion is not up to public sentiment. Leave such interpretation to the Supreme Court where it belongs.
    ------
    The SCOTUS has already ruled on the issue of gun restrictions. Justice Scalia wrote that the right to bear arms is clearly defined but that the government DOES have the right and moral responsibility to regulate dangerous weapons like assault rifles. Please try to keep up.
    --------
    Then why do we need anything more?

    January 16, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. REB

    It not the NRA that the politicians worry about. They are just the tip of the iceberg. It's all of the non-members that the NRA will give direction to of which politician vote for. Just like in the move where the admiral of the Japanese fleet that just bombed Pearl Harbor says: I'm afraid all we have done is awoke a sleeping giant.

    January 16, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Geoz

    Interesting. I've not made up my mind on what restrictions are ok or what will work (if any). It seems like the data are intentionally obfuscated by the NRA though. Their expression of opinion is laden with hyperbole. It also seems that everyone is worried about slippery slopes. Well... slippery slopes slide both ways if slipping is allowed – thus the argument means nothing to me.

    The least persuasive argument for me is that "it says so in the 2nd Amendment." I say that because either the law evolves or as Scalia says about the Constitution, it is "dead, dead, dead." If it is dead, then we only get to possess black powder muskets. If it isn't then we have an evolving document and we have to talk about what that means for today.

    It seems like the rules proposed in various places have so many holes as to be useless. I'd rather not spend time on those.

    I don't have answers, but I wish we could open up the conversation to social scientists to study. What will make us safer from guns, from people, from knives, etc. We need to find ways to stop killing each other.

    January 16, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. thomase

    JJ Barker
    I don't beleive it, anyone can sway poll numbers to make it look like whatever they want. They must think middle Americans are all morons.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

    Why don't you republicans understand? Pollsters like PPP and Nate Silver make big money for being RIGHT. The pollsters that aren't right and are used for propaganda, ike those projecting Romney leads during the presidential election and shifted hard to Obama at the end DON'T LAST.

    Polls that aren't right are useless. Pollsters being right and getting paid to be right regardless of any bias are the only ones who matter and the only ones who last.

    January 16, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. John Casey

    Funny how we poll this. The 2nd amendment is not a debatable option. There is no vote no poll. It is what it is no discussion period. It does not matter what a bunch of city people think. This is our way of life and it is not a polling option. What this country needs to finally figure out is we are a free country, were any way and as long as there is such a huge and diverse population of people we will always have issues. IT is the price to pay for freedom. True some can be prevented but not by taking the rights away from many to save a few. Retired U. S. Army.

    January 16, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. fran mitchell

    the second amendment is a stepping stone to a better culture in America. It is NOT an end unto itself. Made by humans and nothing to do with GOD.
    Using the second AM. as a wall reflects an inability to think and no ability to focus on humans.
    One of the best traits of humans is to compromise and improve what is imperfect. Texas republicans please note: it is not a perfect amendment cast in stone.

    January 16, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. JDalco

    So from your statistically meaningless sample of 800 folks you thing we want stronger gun laws even while gun permit requests are up, Gun sales are up, no ammo on the store shelves and the NRA had 250K NEW members join in the last month. . . I think you are not picking a good sample to see what is really going on. . .

    January 16, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Then why do we need anything more?
    -------------
    More? How about the fact that nothing of the kind currently exists on the books. Do you even know the facts? Not the right wing belief systems because I know you have those down pat, but the actual facts?

    January 16, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Survey experts

    Looking at the comments here reminds me of the comments before the election. "The polls are all skewed!" "I don't know anyone who supports Obama/wants gun control!" "The sample size is too small!"

    And yet, here we are with Obama in the White House again. Until you study surveying and social science, you may wish to stop commenting on what polls are legit.

    January 16, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Anthony

    Polls consistently show majority or plurality support for repealing the Obamcare law. Why hasn't CNN run any stories with the headline: "Poll: Most Americans Favor Repeal of Obamcare"?

    January 16, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Roger

    Most Americans favor stricter gun laws?

    Cool. Maybe this country doesn't have as many morons as I thought.

    January 16, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. dave richman

    This, in the face of facts that indicate strict gun laws do NOTHING, in city after city across our nation. The same masses that elected Obama are polling their ignorance again.

    January 16, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    John Casey wrote:

    Funny how we poll this. The 2nd amendment is not a debatable option.
    -------------------–
    Correct. It is already settled law, at the US Supreme Court level no less. The government does have the right, under the Constitution to regulate guns to protect the welfare of the country. How come you're not complaining about not having the right to own grenade launchers, stun guns, telescopic gun sights, RPGs and a host of other things?

    The 1st Amendment has numerous common sense limitations. The 2nd Amendment needs to be subjected to the same standard as ruled by the SCOTUS in the opinion written by Justice Scalia a few years ago.

    January 16, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. GeorgeN

    One reason I oppose any gun control all gun control is just a step to banning all gun ownership. You don't have to take my word on this:

    "Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal."
    Janet Reno

    "Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn't matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed."
    Sara Brady, Chairman, Handgun Control Inc, to Senator Howard Metzenbaum
    The National Educator, January 1994, Page 3.

    I don't know about you, but I believe in telling the truth and I don't want to live in a socialist America.

    "If I could have banned them all...I would have! "
    Senator Diane Feinstein (b. 1933)
    Gun owner with concealed carry permit
    Statement on TV program 60 Minutes, Feb 5 1995

    malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

    January 16, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. What the?

    So if the majority of Americans want gun control, why is it that the loudest people are the gun freaks and the NRA? What has become of this country? Why is having a gun that can shoot 30 bullets in a spread more important than creating laws to protect American citizens?
    If you don't belong to a militia, do you want one next door to you that has access to semi-automatic weapons?

    January 16, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. jinx88

    People dont believe polls numbers unless it is in their party favor. Just ask Mittens, every poll said he will lose the election except Gallup and Rasmussen.

    January 16, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. GeorgeN

    How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual... as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of.

    January 16, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. sherman

    this is not true, you can sway your polling any way you want to. the majority of Americans want this issue gone. period. we have other issues. like fractional reserve banking.

    January 16, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. upclosepls

    Liberals Exposed: The Obama administration and his liberal media followers, are trying to con naive American’s by demonizing semi-auto rifles. How? By calling them “assault weapons” which is a lie (look up the definition). They also keep saying “assault weapons are not needed for hunting”. The real truth: the second amendment was not designed by our founding fathers for hunting (liberals know this). This is nothing more than a con job to confuse naive American’s into following their ideological beliefs. It’s really about power and control from both liberals and the Obama administration. History shows that if you strip the guns from the people you control the people. Hopefully the liberals and government will not continue to test the power of the second amendment and push this into an ugly repeat of the past. AMERICANS! PLEASE STOP BEING CONNED!

    January 16, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. B.

    This country will change it’s views concerning gun ownership because, like most other concerns we have about the well-being of most Americans, guns have become a number ONE National Outrage!

    The NRA should be the ones that step-up to Self-Regulation, and if they don’t the American people will take charge of the problem and deal with it! The NRA is not going to determine their Own version of National Security, that is why we have a Military.

    January 16, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. labman57

    Unfortunately, the NRA, their lackeys in Congress, and the myriad of delusional right wing "Save the Second Amendment" conspiracy theorists do not represent - nor are they even receptive to - the welfare, concerns, and points of view of the vast majority of the American people, nor the policy positions and desires of the majority of the NRA membership.

    Rather, they represent the financial interests and political motivations of gun manufacturers and retailers.

    January 16, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Kyle M

    A poll of less than a thousand Americans sure does represent a majority of this country. What a ridiculous article.

    January 16, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. borat

    Most of these polls are fake and fabricated, there is no way to prove its claims and I doubt most Americans support support on rifles. Stop lying CNN because people aren't dumb.

    January 16, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. aj

    This poll is useless. Most americans don't watch CNN or hear about these so called polls.

    I guarantee there will be occupy congress really, really soon regarding the 2nd amendment.

    January 16, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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