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April 29, 2013

HOWEY: Majority support gun background checks

NASHVILLE —

Eighty-three percent.

There’s always something in Howey Politics Indiana polling that raises at least one eyebrow, and sometimes both.

And in the survey of 600 registered voters (April 18-21, +/-4 percent), it is that 83 percent of people support expanded gun background checks.

Bellwether Research pollster Christine Matthews, who has polled for former Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana Republican Party, posed the question like this: “Do you favor or oppose requiring all gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter who they buy it from. If (favor/oppose) do you feel strongly or not so strongly about this?”

This came during the same week that U.S. Sen. Dan Coats joined a majority in the U.S. Senate in blocking the Manchin-Toomey legislation that would have expanded background checks to gun shows. In the ramp up to that vote, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others like former congresswoman Gabby Giffords had cited national polling that showed support in the 90th percentile.

But ... this is Indiana. This is a God, guns and guts state. I hear that from Republicans and Democrats. The HPI poll reveals that 47 percent of our respondents said there is a gun in their household.

So this 83 percent in favor to 15 percent opposed is surprising; no, it’s shocking.

Let’s mine down into the top lines and cross tabulations and see what’s going on here.

As for the top lines, 72 percent “strongly favor” the expanded check and 11 percent said they favor it. There were 11 percent who strongly opposed and 4 percent who oppose. And only 2 percent said they didn’t have a position. That is an extremely low number, suggesting that Hoosiers are willing to take a stand.

The opposition to background checks almost matches up with the 13 percent who say someone in their household is a member of the National Rifle Association, while 85 percent said no.

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