Clinton, Trump supporters share views on background checks

(Graph: Pew Research)

(Graph: Pew Research)

Most supporters from both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton camps favor expanding background checks to include private gun sales and at gun shows, but express different thoughts about where gun control ranks as a priority, according to a national poll by Pew Research published Friday.

The survey sought to gauge views on gun control policies from supporters from members of both parties and how it has changed from past presidential election cycles. Answers were collected Aug. 9-16 from 2,010 people.

The survey showed the gap widening among supporters of presidential candidates in gun priorities with 48 percent supporting government control of gun ownership and 52 percent supporting government protecting the right of Americans to own guns.

Pew noted the gap has widened over the years. During the 2000 election, 66 percent supported gun control and 29 percent supported gun rights.

Revealing a polarization in views, 79 percent of Clinton supporters said they favor gun control whereas 9 percent of Trump supporters thought the same.

During both parties’ conventions earlier this summer, Republicans had little to nothing to say about guns — even with leadership from the National Rifle Association speaking — whereas Democrats made gun control a centerpiece of their agenda.

(Graph: Pew Research)

(Graph: Pew Research)

Expanded background checks drew support from 75 percent of Trump supporters and 90 percent of Clinton supporters; preventing people with mental illness from buying guns gained 82 and 83 percent; and barring those on federal terror watchlists gained 72 and 80 percent.

The high figures align with other major surveys published over the summer. An Associated Press survey found 75 percent of Americans favoring background checks; a CBS News poll found 89 percent; and Quinnipiac University found 93 percent.

Pew found Clinton and Trump supporters expressing slightly different views on other gun control policies regarding assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Democrats largely favored such policies whereas Republicans were split.

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans favored the creation of a federal database to track gun sales, 52 percent on banning assault weapons, and 50 percent on a high capacity magazine ban.

In the wake of June’s mass shooting in Orlando, several polls found a majority Americans favoring an assault weapons ban. A poll by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News found 51 percent favoring a ban; CBS News found 57 percent in favor; Quinnipiac found 59 percent in favor; and the AP found 57 percent in favor.

Trump’s platform does not fully reflect the views of his supporters shown in Pew’s results. Trump says the current federal background check system needs to be improved with better record keeping rather than expanding checks.

Clinton’s platform, on the other hand, aligns with the majority of her supporters. She says she supports sweeping gun control measures, reinstalling previous measures like an assault weapons ban, and completely reforming the current systems in place.

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