Poll: Majority of Virginia voters want universal background checks

A majority of Virginia voters support universal background checks, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Some 94 percent of respondents favored background checks “for all gun purchases,” including 90 percent of those who identified as Republican, the university said in a press release Wednesday.

Another 62 percent of poll respondents favored a state law repealed in 2012 limiting handgun purchases to one a month. Republican respondents support the repeal 57-39 percent, with 50 percent of white men opposing limits on gun purchases. The university said every other demographic surveyed supported the original law.

“Many observers have commented about how much Virginia has changed politically from its deep red history to a leaning Democratic hue in little more than a decade,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “They generally cite the Democrats’ ability to carry the state in the most recent presidential, U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races. But what also seems to be lining up in the Democratic column is Virginia voters’ values on some hot-button issues.”

Brown said two-thirds of respondents believe more restrictive gun laws won’t infringe on the Second Amendment, while more than half said more guns makes Virginia less safe. Overall, 54 percent of respondents support strengthening gun restrictions.

Poll results are based on phone interviews with 1,115 registered voters conducted between April 6 and April 10. Respondents skewed Democratic or Independent, accounting for 65 percent of those surveyed. Only 24 percent of respondents identified as Republican.