In the wake of several high-profile mass shootings, more than ¾ of Utahns say gun violence is a serious problem in the United States.
A new Utah Political Trends poll from UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics finds 58% of Utahns say gun violence is a “very serious” problem, while another 24% say it’s a “somewhat serious” issue. 18% replied that it was not serious, while just 1% did not have an opinion on the question.
UtahPolicy.com will be publishing polling results on several proposals to address gun violence in the coming weeks.
It’s not surprising that so many Utahns feel gun violence is a serious problem. 53 people were killed in mass shootings in August alone this year, and there have been at least 38 shootings with three or more fatalities in the U.S. in 2019 according to the New York Times. An August 3rd massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas left 22 people dead. That same day, a shooter in Dayton, Ohio murdered nine and injured 27. At the end of August, a gunman hijacked a mail truck in Odessa, Texas and began shooting indiscriminately at cars leaving 7 dead and 21 injured.
UtahPolicy.com pollster Kelly Patterson of Y2 Analytics says there may be some portion of the results colored by the recent spate of mass shootings.
“People react to issues in the news,” he says. “There will always be a significant cohort of individuals who are worried about gun violence, but that cohort grows after mass shootings and then declines again as time passes.”
However, he adds not to expect those numbers to move much as news coverage of mass shootings fades.
“On most measures of gun control, public opinion has remained relatively stable over time, meaning that the contours of the debate have been established and it is difficult to move individuals away from those opinions.
There’s a significant gender gap on the issue, with women much more likely to believe gun violence is a problem than men. 91% of the women in our poll said gun violence is a problem, with 68% of that number saying it’s a “very serious” crisis. 72% of men said gun violence was a concern, with 48% saying it was “very serious.”
On a partisan basis, Democrats feel much more strongly about the seriousness of the issue, while Republicans are a little more muted.
66% of “strong Republicans” say gun violence is a serious problem, as do 83% of “not very strong Republicans.”
More than half of independents voters (52%) say gun violence is a serious problem. Another 23% say it’s “somewhat” serious. 38% of independents who lean Republican say it’s a serious problem, while 89% of independent voters who lean Democratic feel the same.
94% of “strong” Democrats and 87% of moderate Democrats agree that gun-related violence is a “serious” problem.