Quinnipiac University polls voters on climate change, gun policy and prejudice

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HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,422 self-identified registered voters nationwide between August 21 and 26 on issues of climate change, gun policies and prejudice in the United States.

Climate Change

Results from a new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University show that 56 percent of registered voters nationwide believe climate change is an emergency.

A majority of respondents who identified as Democrats and independents say climate change is an emergency, and respondents who identified as Republicans say it is not an emergency.

  • Identifying as Democrats: 84 percent it is an emergency, 14 percent it is not an emergency
  • Identifying as independents: 63 percent it is an emergency, 36 percent it is not an emergency
  • Identifying as Republicans: 18 percent it is an emergency, 81 percent it is not an emergency

Among voters between 18 and 34-years-old, 74 percent say climate change is an emergency and 24 percent do not.

Across voters of all ages and affiliation, 67 percent say more needs to be done by the United States government to address climate change, 20 percent say that the country is doing enough and 8 percent say the county is doing too much.

The newest results show the highest percentage of respondents believe more needs to be done since the question was first asked by Quinnipiac University in a poll conducted in December 2015.

The poll also asked if respondents are worried they or someone in their family might be affected by an extreme weather event, to which 40 percent of voters say they are worried and 59 percent say they are not worried.

Guns Laws and Mass Shootings

Among 72 percent of voters who say Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence, 50 percent are Republicans, 93 percent are Democrats, and 75 percent are independents.

Support for stricter gun laws in the United States and support for a nationwide ban on assault weapons both had positive responses of 60 percent among all voters.

Voters are split on mandatory assault weapon buybacks, with 46 percent of voters supporting the idea.

Looking at all the specific gun policy proposals that voters were asked about, support ranges from very strong to split:

The poll results showed the level of support from voters on various gun policy proposals, including:

  • 93 – 6 percent support for universal background checks;
  • 82 – 16 percent support for requiring a license to purchase a gun;
  • 80 – 15 percent support for a “Red Flag” law;
  • 60 – 36 percent support for a ban on assault weapons;
  • 46 – 49 percent on a mandatory buyback of assault weapons.

The two questions regarding assault weapons and one on gun licensing received a double digit gap between responses from white men and white women. The results showed that women and white women strongly support those three gun policies, including a bare majority of support for the mandatory assault weapon buyback.

A majority of voters (54 percent) think that mental illness is a bigger cause of mass shootings than the availability of guns, and 37 percent say gun availability is the bigger cause. Stricter gun laws would help to decrease the number of mass shootings in the United States say 54 percent of voters, as opposed to 43 percent who don’t think so. About four in teen voters are worried about being a victim of a mass shooting themselves.

Prejudice in the United States 

A slight majority of 51 percent of voters say prejudice against immigrants is a very serious problem in the United States today, while 23 percent say it is a somewhat serious problem.

When asked about other groups, voters’ opinions varied:

  • 44 percent say prejudice against Muslim people is a very serious problem and 29 percent say it is a somewhat serious problem;
  • 44 percent say prejudice against Hispanic people and Latinos is a very serious problem and 25 percent say it is a somewhat serious problem;
  • 43 percent say prejudice against black people is a very serious problem and 29 percent say it is a somewhat serious problem;
  • 31 percent say prejudice against LGBTQ people is a very serious problem and 31 percent say it is a somewhat serious problem;
  • 27 percent say prejudice against Jewish people is a very serious problem and 35 percent say it is a somewhat serious problem;
  • 14 percent say prejudice against white people is a very serious problem and 30 percent say it is a somewhat serious problem.

Since the 2016 election, 64 percent of voters believe the level of hatred and prejudice in the United States has increased while 28 percent say it hasn’t changed and 6 percent say it has decreased. A lesser majority of voters, 56 percent, say that President Trump’s language and behavior have played a role in motivating white supremacists to commit violence, while 40 percent disagree.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Doug Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts gold standard surveys using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts nationwide surveys and polls in more than a dozen states on national and statewide elections, as well as public policy issues. 

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