Gallup Poll Reveals Americans' New Litmus Test Surrounding Guns And Gun Control

Posted: Jul 08, 2018 9:00 AM

Between June 1 and June 13 Gallup conducted a poll about the National Rifle Association to determine how Americans felt about the pro-gun group about about gun laws in America.

The Partisan Divide

One of the key takeaways that Gallup came to: Republicans are far more likely to view the NRA favorably, opposed to Democrats who frequently oppose the pro-gun group. The polling company also says that the party gap as more than quadrupled since they began asking questions about the NRA in 1989.

"Republicans and Democrats are more divided in their views of the National Rifle Association than at any other time in Gallup's 29-year trend. Eighty-eight percent of self-identified Republicans say they have very or mostly favorable views of the NRA, compared with 24% of Democrats, a 64-percentage-point gap in positive opinions of the organization," the poll revealed. 

Interestingly enough, the NRA has the highest approval rating from Republicans right now, in 2018, and the lowest approval rating from Democrats.

"This may reflect a variety of factors, including substantial support among Democratic leaders for tougher gun control legislation after a series of high-profile mass shootings in the past few years. In particular, efforts by survivors of the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to put pressure on Congress to pass new gun control laws may be affecting U.S. Democrats' opinions of the NRA," the study concluded.

When looking at the timeframe, it's important to make a note of the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, which is around the time Republicans view the NRA the least favorably. 

The Overall View

While there tends to be a partisan divide over the National Rifle Association, Gallup said that Americans tended to view the NRA favorably in nine out of the 10 polls they've conducted over time. The major exception was after the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.

Because of the partisan gap in favorability, Gallup came to the conclusion that how someone feels about the NRA and gun control is now a litmus test.

"Americans are becoming increasingly partisan on many issues, including guns and gun control. This growing divide between Republicans and Democrats is seen in attitudes toward the NRA. The large partisan gap may be turning support for the NRA -- and by extension, gun control legislation -- into a litmus test for candidates from the two parties," Gallup concluded. "Given the high percentage of Republicans who view the NRA favorably, it may be extremely difficult for a GOP candidate who opposes the group to win a primary election. Likewise, a pro-NRA Democrat may have trouble emerging from a primary to run in a general election."

What This Means Moving Forward

Gun ownership in America has seemingly become a partisan issue. Having a gun in the home for hunting and/or self-protection is no longer common practice. Owning a gun has definitely become a right verses left issue. 

The issue of gun ownership is the litmus test, not just the National Rifle Association. How a candidate feels about things like general firearm ownership, concealed carry reciprocity, universal background checks and an assault weapons ban will play heavily into who wins public office. And this isn't just a litmus test for members of Congress. This is becoming a litmus test for all candidates running for public office. We're seeing the issue of gun control come up in smaller races, like for school board and city council, because of mass shootings at schools.

A candidate's stance on gun legislation is no longer a litmus test for single-issue voters. This is becoming a litmus test for voters who care about Constitutional principles and preserving our God-given rights.