SAINT LEO, FL – A new poll released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (http://polls.saintleo.edu) shows that 60 percent of those surveyed nationally say they think some new, additional limited licensing or permitting, and some restrictions on certain firearms such as assault weapons are necessary. Of the remaining balance of the 1,015 adults polled online March 13 through March 17, 2016, 24.9 percent said there should be no new, additional regulations or control of firearms for any reason. And 7.6 percent of respondents indicate they believed that firearms should not be owned privately.
More than three-quarters (78.3 percent) of Americans surveyed report the issue of gun control/gun rights will be very (49.3 percent) or somewhat important (29 percent) to them in the November 2016 elections. The Saint Leo poll showed 35.1 percent said they were more likely to support a candidate in November 2016, who opposes any new, additional controls on firearms. But a broader group supports candidates who favor some ownership control.
A parallel online poll of 540 residents in Florida generated similar findings.
“There is always a tension,” said Dr. Douglas Astolfi, Saint Leo history professor and polling institute expert. “People seem willing to live with curtailment of assault rifles, but don’t want to give up firearms they own.”
The Saint Leo poll shows 82.8 percent strongly and somewhat agree that active duty military should allowed to carry their firearms on U.S. military bases within the United States. The high figure indicates that respondents may be concerned following high profile, mass shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, as well as attacks on recruiting and reserve stations in Chattanooga, TN.
Support for so-called open-carry laws was high as 55.1 percent said they strongly or somewhat agree that there should laws allowing qualified citizens to openly carry firearms (with exceptions such as day care centers and schools). The poll shows 83.7 percent said firearm purchasers should also undergo mental health background checks in addition to criminal background checks.
Selected highlights: National and Florida
|Which of the following best reflects your own personal position on gun control?||National – %||Florida – %|
|There should be no new, additional regulations or control of firearms for any reason||24.9||19.6|
|Some new, additional limited licensing or permitting and some restrictions on certain firearms such as assault weapons||60.0||62.2|
|Gun Rights / Gun Controls||National % Strongly and Somewhat Agree||Florida % Strongly and Somewhat Agree|
|Our active duty military should be allowed to carry their firearms on U.S. Military bases within the United States||82.7||83.5|
|I support open carry laws allowing qualified citizens to openly carry firearms (with exceptions such as day care centers, schools)||55.1||45.0|
|I’m more likely to support a candidate in November, 2016 who opposes any new, additional controls on firearms||35.1||34.4|
|I’m more likely to support a candidate in November, 2016 who supports the need for some controls on firearm ownership such as permitting and licensing||63.4||70.9|
|Firearm purchasers should also undergo mental health background checks in addition to criminal background checks||83.7||83.3|
Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text)
Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Communications email@example.com or (352) 588-7118 or (813) 610-8416 (cell/text)
METHODOLOGY: All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument, and the national poll has a plus or minus 3 percent margin of error. The state poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 dollar deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and a capacity for innovation. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.
The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations. Saint Leo’s nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from any location. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate.