Hours after the legislature’s gun task force released its divided recommendations on stricter gun control measures, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute unveiled a poll, which shows voters support stricter gun laws 66 to 30 percent.
The poll of 1,009 voters conducted March 4-5 found 93 percent support universal background checks, including 89 percent of gun owners, and 68 percent support an expansion of the assault weapon ban. But gun owners oppose the expansion of the assault weapon ban 49 to 44 percent.
If the assault weapon ban is expanded as proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and some legislative Democrats, the ban would include a ban on popular semi-automatic and modern sporting rifles.
The poll also found that the public supports banning high capacity magazines 68 to 28 percent, but gun owners are divided 49 to 48 percent on the measure.
Connecticut Against Gun Violence has called for limiting handgun purchases to one per month, which is a measure voters supported 63 to 31 percent, including 50 to 46 percent of gun owners.
About 85 percent of voters approve of requiring a permit to carry all guns. Currently, in Connecticut only handguns require a permit. The poll found gun owners support the measure 71 to 28 percent.
“In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, there is overwhelming support among Connecticut voters for strengthening the state’s gun laws,” Doug Schwartz, Quinnipiac Poll Director, said. “It is remarkable how bipartisan the support is for some of the most talked-about gun-control measures. Universal background checks tops the list with 93 percent support, higher than we’ve ever seen for any issue in 20 years of Connecticut surveys.”
The poll also found that gun issues are not partisan issues.
“Republican voters are divided 45 – 48 percent on the general question, ‘Do you support or oppose stricter gun-control laws in Connecticut.’ They support, however, most of the specific measures,” Schwartz added.
The Newtown tragedy makes them more likely to support gun-control, 54 percent of Connecticut voters say, while 43 percent say it makes no difference.
Voters are divided on a proposal to prohibit people convicted of drunk driving from owning guns, with 45 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed.
And for those lawmakers who are concerned about their re-election campaigns, by a 42 to 20 percent margin, voters are more likely rather than less likely to back a state legislator who votes for stricter gun control. Another 35 percent say this won’t affect their vote.
“Connecticut voters are not optimistic that Democratic and Republican elected officials can or will act together to reduce gun violence,” Schwartz said. “Democrats are optimistic 50 to 43 percent, but Republicans are not, 64 to 32 percent, and independent voters are pessimistic, 58 to 35 percent.”
Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed identified themselves as gun owners. The poll has a 3.1 percent margin of error.