Poll: Majority wanted background checks to pass Senate
April 29th, 2013
10:26 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Majority wanted background checks to pass Senate

(CNN) - Nearly two-thirds of Americans say that the Senate should have passed a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales, according to a new national poll.

But the survey, released Monday by Gallup, indicates a partisan divide, with Democrats and independent voters not seeing eye-to-eye with Republicans.

Two weeks ago, the Senate voted on a number of gun control proposals in the wake of last December's Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre that left 20 children and six adults killed. One of the provisions, the one thought most likely to get passed, was a bipartisan compromise that would expand the background check system to include private sales at gun shows and online.

In a 54-46 vote, the Senate came short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead with the legislation.

According to the poll, 65% of Americans say that the Senate should have passed the background checks bill, with just under one in three saying the Senate should not have passed the measure.

A Washington Post/Pew Research Center survey released last week indicated that 47% of the public described themselves as "angry" or "disappointed" with the Senate vote, with 39% saying they were "relieved" or "happy" about the vote.

Prior to the Senate's failure to pass the proposal, most national polling indicated that nearly nine in 10 Americans supported expanded background checks for gun sales.

The Gallup survey, like the Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll, points to a partisan divide. Eighty-five percent of Democrats and 64% of independents questioned said the Senate should have passed the proposal. Republicans were divided, with 45% saying the Senate should have advanced the measure and 50% disagreeing.

One of the authors of the bipartisan bill, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said Sunday that the measure can still be revised and approved in the chamber. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided to shelve the amendment on background checks, vowing to bring it back to the Senate floor once they feel confident that it could get more support.

President Barack Obama, who strongly pushed action on gun control, condemned the Senate's action, saying it marked a "shameful day in Washington." Speaking from the White House Rose Garden shortly after the amendment failed, the president vowed that this is only "Round One" of the fight for tougher gun laws.

The Gallup poll was conducted April 22-25, with 1,043 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Filed under: Gun control • Polls
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. rs

    22 school shootings in 10 years, Congress does nothing. 1 day of passenger delays at airports, and Congress passes legislation in record time, undoing its own punitive legislation. Truly disgusting.

    April 29, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Data Driven

    Awaiting your spin, wingers. Something along the lines of: the polls were legit last week, but not this week. 1,2,3, GO!

    April 29, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. Palin Power

    We don't need background checks, we need to be full of guns.

    April 29, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Palin Power

    When Sarah Palin inevitably becomes President, she will end background checks altogether.

    April 29, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Sniffit

    You can see the practical results in other polls. For example, Toomey actually got a bounce, while Ayotte took a hit in her approval rating.

    April 29, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. sonny chapman

    "All men are created equal". An Urban Legend. The Special Interests control ALL Govts. in America.

    April 29, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. MaryM

    Yep, the majority of Americans did want expanded background checks to pass the Senate. And when it comes time to vote, those same majority of Americans will remember who voted against the expanded background checks and vote against those Senators .

    April 29, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Borderless

    If you want anything substantial done by our ridiculous congress, you must not participate in brand name politics. Vote independently. Voting strictly along party lines does not produce a government representative of the people.

    April 29, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. 82ndABNVET

    All for background checks..........

    That is as long as there is a section within the bill itself that stipulates that there will be NO FEDERAL RECORDS KEEPING of any kind.

    The current background check system is required to destroy within 24 hours almost every check (I assume that those that fail the check with either false information or whatever are kept). That works.

    There needs not be a gun registration or anything like it.

    You can say, well we are required to register our vehicles and maintain proof of insurance.........

    I counter that vehicles are not covered under the Bill of Rights. The right to buy/own/maintain a firearm is.

    I would also counter with, if you would like to register guns, why not also register your cell phone, laptop, ipad, ipod.....etc? Then we can tax them and make you carry insurance, just incase you decide to bad mouth someone on the internet. Then you are covered for any "damages" you might cause. I mean, thats cool right, even though speach is protected under the 1st Amendment (Bill of Rights)?

    Or why dont we force people to carry insurance just incase they have to find themselves a lawyer? That would basically cover you for anything covered under the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments in some form or another.

    Guns dont kill people. People kill people. That would be like saying that forks/spoons/knives make people fat. No. They make themselves fat and obese.

    A gun is an inanimate object. I is neither good or bad. It is a piece of metal/plastic.

    What you need to look at is the mental state of the person holding the gun. The common denomiator with all these mass killings is that the person conducting them is CRAZY. It doesnt matter if it is a shotgun, an AR-15, a pistol, a knife, or a sword. The tool used is not the issue. It is the mental issues that individual has.

    But you cant just be able to walk around and call this person or that person CRAZY, and them being banned from owning a gun. There needs to be some due process. Some 3rd party that is unbiased. And there needs to be a standardized test to ensure that we are not just labeling people as crazy that are not.

    April 29, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. don in albuquerque

    I don't care if it is about gun control, abortion, or curbing your dog. The fact is, all (on both sides) knew what the majority of the people wanted and expected. They chose not to represent the people but instead their own personal wallets. They just proved that the idea of representative government is a lie. Every last one deserves to be voted out of office.

    April 29, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Wake up People!

    But CNN, I thought you just said last week that the majority of the people didn't care that the measure failed......

    If only the news was like it was when I was growing up. Real news, not spin and fabrication.

    The politicians are in bed with the NRA, the NRA is in bed with the gun manufacturers, and what you end up with is more dead little suburban children. There will also be shootings of children in the cities, but mainstream America could care less about them. Only us, in the inner city care. After all, all black males over age 5 are thugs aren't they? All 17 year old black males deserve to be gunned down simply for walking down the street. These gun nuts don't want any regulations, I say let them do as they please. But please stop talking about what happens in the inner city like you care.

    April 29, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Homer Simpson

    I lasted two paragrphs, cant take anymore, bombs dont kill people, people with bombs kill people

    April 29, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Scare The Pilgrims

    You are making way too much sense to be allowed to post here 82ndABNVET

    April 29, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. Homer Simpson

    Stop giving any credibility to polls after romney was up by seven, when you can manipulate numbers like they do, they dont serve the purpose in which they were intended

    April 29, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    Hasn't it been proven that Gallup isn't a reliable poll? Anyway, majority of us did want background checks to pass. You didn't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out. It's okay though. Senators who voted against background checks will feel the wrath of WE THE PEOPLE next November.

    April 29, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. B.

    Some Republican House members will lose their jobs in 2014 if they don’t honor the 90% wishes of the American people and get background checks done.

    April 29, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Homer Simpson

    Where is integrity anymore. more interested in lying than the truth, where are we headed?

    April 29, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. rs

    "A gun is an inanimate object. I is neither good or bad. It is a piece of metal/plastic." and "Guns dont kill people. People kill people. are a pair of ill-concieved yet oft-quoted statements that point up the problem with the gun crowd and the Right in general.
    First, it is patently obvious that indeed guns are inannimate . It is also obvious that guns have but one purpose- to kill, and that they are the weapons of choice that have caused more than 3,700 Americans to die since Dec. 14 (according to the web site "How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?").
    Second, this is where Right-Wing logic goes out the window. If we buy the "guns don't kill people" crap, why is the Right so anxious to go to war in Syria, or N. Korea- after all nukes done kill people, neither does poison gas.Why are Syrian lives more important than American ones?
    Face it- GUNS do kill people, and as a society we are proving that letting the NRA make the rules doesn't work, and the cost is thousands of unneccessary American deaths every year.
    Grow up, and stop worshiping guns!

    April 29, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. Scare The Pilgrims

    Your right, I couldn't care less about people in the cities ,,let them eat rat burgers for all we care. Why do you think we bought a FARM ?

    April 29, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. rs

    "But CNN, I thought you just said last week that the majority of the people didn't care that the measure failed......"

    Wrong, the story last week was that people were not angry. One can want something without being angry.

    April 29, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  21. Homer Simpson

    How long will it take to realize just who is running this country, our desires and opinions mean zip to politicians, would not matter if it were 100%, simply will not vote your way no matter what polls say, they represent big money period. what % of americans wanted citizens united? how can you pass a bill 99% of americans oppose, and call it that, typical gop, right to wwork anyone?

    April 29, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. AK_Steve

    The only check to pass the Senates was from the NRA to GOP. Corrupt, corrupt, corrupt!

    April 29, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Zerubbabel

    Tru Dat Bro. As a black man who grew up in the hood as well and has seen and known many who have been victims of senseless gun violence, I could not have said it better.

    April 29, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. bill o'rights


    We do not live in a direct democracy, no matter how many polls you rely upon in order to push your agenda.

    You might as well argue that a majority wishes to throw out the first amendment, so it should be done.

    Total lunacy.

    Thank God the founding fathers set up a representative democracy (a Republic) in order to protect us from the 'Tyranny of the Majority'.

    Assuming homosexuals make up 2-10% of the population, imagine what would happen to them in a direct democracy where the majority of the population wanted to bring about corporal punishment for homosexuality.

    April 29, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. The Real Tom Paine


    You can see the practical results in other polls. For example, Toomey actually got a bounce, while Ayotte took a hit in her approval rating.
    How much of a hit did she take?

    April 29, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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