The recent Colorado Quinnipiac poll on gun control turned up contradictory but not surprising results: a majority of Colorado voters said they disapprove of the state’s “strict new gun laws” even while approving of the substance of the laws.
The poll found that 55 percent to 40 percent disapproved of Colorado’s “strict new gun laws,” but 84 percent “support requiring background checks for all gun buyers” and a slim majority, 49 percent, “support a statewide ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 bullets.”
Bills putting in place background checks and a high-capacity magazine bans were the lynchpin of the new laws. They also requiring conceal-carry permit applications to be conducted in-person, and they made it more difficult for convicted domestic abusers to obtain firearms.
Yet the laws generated fevered push back from gun-rights groups that ended in special elections that recalled two swing-district senators who supported the bills. The recalls and the continuing vitriol the laws engender on the activist right reportedly has gun-control groups warily eying the upcoming legislative season.
“Voters don’t like gun control, or maybe they just don’t like the words, ‘gun control,’” Quinnipiac Assistant Director Tim Malloy wrote in the release that accompanied the poll.
The disparity in the polling may also be the result of methodology.
“There’s an art to it,” said Professor Prabha Unnithan, director of the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice at Colorado State University. Unnithan hadn’t read the Quinnipiac poll.
“It’s hard to say [exactly how to interpret the results], to tell you the truth. I’d like to see what their prompt sheet looked like, and how much explanation and context they provided for what they mean by ‘strict.’ Sometime you leave it up to the respondent to make sense of it, and your strict is not my strict, and my strict is not somebody else’s strict.”
Unnithan cautioned against drawing any strong conclusions.
Still, the polls call into doubt the narrative produced by gun-advocates: that they are fighting for the will of the people. The will of the people, at least as reflected in these polls, appears conflicted but also in line with the new laws.
“We are opposed to any restriction or ban on a constitutional right to bear arms,” the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said in a statement to the Colorado Independent about the Quinnipiac poll.
“The passage of the most extreme, anti-gun laws in Colorado, to date, have resulted in Coloradans taking their voice back from the gun-grabbers in the state legislature, who voted against Constitutional rights and the wishes of their constituents.”
The poll also found that voters overwhelmingly oppose the effort led by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners to recall a third senator, Evie Hudak, 49 percent to 38 percent, and generally oppose recall elections to oust candidates they disagree with 57 to 36 percent. Coloradans polled said disasgreements with representatives should be addressed in the state’s normally scheduled elections.
[Image via Flickr by @neostn]