IA-Sen: Support For Background Checks Important To Voters, Poll Finds

A 2018 anti-gun violence march in Des Moines

Ahead of a virtual event tomorrow featuring Theresa Greenfield and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a new survey from Public Policy Polling drives home that Iowa voters value candidates who support gun safety measures such as universal background checks.

The survey, commissioned by Giffords, a nonprofit gun safety organization, was conducted Sept. 1-2 and featured 1,151 Iowa voters.

When asked whether a U.S. Senate candidate’s view on background checks would influence their vote, 54% of respondents said they would be “more likely” to vote for a candidate “who supports background checks.” Seven percent said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes background checks and 33% said a candidate’s position on background checks would not influence their vote.

Overall, 79% of Iowa voters said they support “background checks on all gun sales, which would close loopholes in the federal law that currently make it easier for dangerous people to buy guns at gun shows and online without a background check.”

The survey also asked voters about their knowledge of Sen. Joni Ernst’s position on background checks for all gun sales. Nineteen percent of Iowans thought Ernst supports universal background checks while 39% said she did not. Forty-two percent were unsure of her position on the issue.

In August 2019, in the wake of mass shootings that killed 31 people in two states, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that discussions on background checks would be “front and center” when Congress returned from its summer recess.

When asked about her view on universal background checks during a town hall meeting last summer, Ernst said there already were laws on the books restricting who could purchase guns and was noncommittal on support for new legislation.

A bill requiring background checks on all gun sales passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last year but was never taken up by the Senate, nor did Republicans craft a bill of their own.

Greenfield, who was endorsed by Giffords in April and Brady PAC in May, supports universal background checks as a gun owner and someone who grew up around sport shooting and hunting.

On Thursday night, Greenfield will participate in Giffords’ virtual “Road to Universal Background Checks Tour” to talk with voters about how a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate would pass universal background checks legislation.

“Even after historic levels of daily gun violence and horrific mass shootings that have captured the attention of our nation, Senate Republicans refuse to take gun safety action that would protect American communities,” a Giffords’ press release states.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 9/9/20

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