Poll: Gun control not a huge issue for most Americans

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With the midterm elections less than two weeks away and early voting already underway in many places, now is about as good a time as you’re going to find to see what issues Americans are really concerned about.

Months ago, Democrats took a stand that gun control would be one of those issues. They didn’t put all of their eggs in that basket, but they came close enough.

Since then, millions have been spent pushing the issue and attacking Republicans for their stance.

Yet a recent poll shows that for most Americans, interest in gun control as an issue is waning.

Only a tiny percentage of Americans view gun policy as the top issue in the upcoming midterm elections.

That’s according to a new poll from The New York Times and Siena College released on Monday. Just one percent of likely voters told the paper guns were their top priority less than a month away from the election. That means the issue has dropped eight points from the same poll back in July, putting it in a tie for 14th-most important.

Independents rated the issue slightly higher in importance, with two percent listing gun policies as their top concern. Biden voters reported the same level of concern. However, those who listed guns as a top concern during the summer were more likely to prefer Democrats control Congress, and the decline of the issue combined with the increase in concern over issues Republicans are viewed more favorably on, such as inflation, could signal bad news for the president’s party.

Other polling shows voters giving guns a more prominent position. Two recent polls conducted by YouGov for Yahoo News and The Economist show between four and five percent of respondents named guns their top issue. However, those numbers are down significantly from June, when both found eight percent viewed guns as the most important issue.

Millions spent on the issue and they’re getting almost nothing for it.

However, as newly-hired CNN analyst Stephen Gutowski notes in the above-linked piece, Everytown has pivoted a lot of their ad buys to also take on the abortion issue while the NRA has put focus mostly on guns but with at least some mention of crime.

Both of those issues are more concerning to voters than gun control.

So what accounts for the shift?

That’s hard to say. Following Uvalde, it seemed likely that it would be a significant issue come November, but the American public has other concerns these days. I know that despite guns always being a big issue, inflation is hitting me a whole lot harder right now. I can only imagine I’m far from the only one.

Plus, there’s another factor that might be at play here.

Following such a horrific mass shooting, people get emotional. They start demanding politicians do something, anything, to prevent such an attack. They’re also inundated with talk about gun control via the media so their emotional minds link the two together, making them think gun control is needed.

Yet as they calm down, they become more rational. They recognize that Uvalde was a failure in a lot of ways, but our gun rights aren’t part of that.

They see the police blatantly refusing to enter the building, even while children were being gunned down inside, and recognize that it’s still to blame guns for that.

They see countless law-abiding citizens using firearms to defend themselves–far more than the maniacs that make headlines for their atrocities.

All of that hits their rational minds and they stop thinking that gun control is as necessary as they did.

Oh, they’re not necessarily pro-gun, but they bump it down in their priorities. That’s especially true when there’s so much other stuff going on that probably creates more of an impact, as I mentioned above.

Either way, it’s good news for gun rights.