March 21, 2013

Poll: Most Florida voters favor universal background checks

A poll found that most Florida voters support universal background checks for all gun purchases, and also back Hillary Clinton over homegrown political stars.

Voters support universal background checks for gun purchases, other gun control laws and Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

It found that 91 percent of Florida voters support universal background checks for all gun purchases.


“The idea of requiring background checks on those who want to buy guns has overwhelming support, 91-8 percent, in a country where getting a majority to agree on anything is often difficult,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Floridians also support Hillary Clinton more than their homegrown political stars, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush. In a head-to-head matchup, Clinton leads Bush 51 to 40 percent and outpolls Rubio 52 to 41 percent.

By 51 to 44 percent, Florida voters support stricter gun control laws in the state, with majorities backing an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

Florida’s results track those by pollsters in other states, despite the fact that the Sunshine State is one of the most gun-friendly in the country. In December, Florida surpassed one million concealed carry permits, leading all states.

Those who own guns have very different opinions about gun control, with 61 percent opposed to stricter gun laws and 57 percent opposing an assault weapons ban. Still, gun owners support universal background checks by 88 to 11 percent. The Florida Legislature has mostly avoided the gun debate this year, as several gun control bills have languished after being filed.

‘get involved’

Gov. Rick Scott told The Miami Herald editorial board Thursday that if voters want tougher gun laws, they should “get involved” in the process and let their lawmakers know.

So far, legislative leaders have decided against advancing more than two-dozen gun control bills that have been filed.

On Friday, lawmakers will hear HM 545, a memorial to President Barack Obama stating that the Florida Legislature will work to defy new gun control laws that come from Washington.

The poll sampled 1,000 registered voters in Florida from March 13-18, 2013. The margin of error: 3.1 percentage points. Here are other poll results:

•  A majority, 56-41 percent, support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, with gun owners opposed 57- 41 percent.
•  A majority, 53-43 percent, support a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds, with gun-owners opposed 56-40 percent.

A large majority, 59-36 percent, support placing armed police officers in schools.

•  A large majority, 57-33 percent, say gun ownership in Florida does more to protect people from crime than to put them at risk.
•  An overwhelming majority, 60-31 percent, say allowing people to own assault weapons makes the country more dangerous rather than safer, with gun owners divided 44-44 percent.
•  Less than half, 44 percent, say Obama better reflects their views on guns, while 45 percent say the National Rifle Association better reflects their views.
•  Obama’s approval rating is at 50 percent among Florida voters.

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