Poll: Majority wanted background checks to pass Senate


The U.S. Senate.

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(CNN) — Nearly two-thirds of Americans say that the Senate should have passed a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales, according to a new national poll.

But the survey, released Monday by Gallup, indicates a partisan divide, with Democrats and independent voters not seeing eye-to-eye with Republicans.

Two weeks ago, the Senate voted on a number of gun control proposals in the wake of last December’s Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre that left 20 children and six adults killed. One of the provisions, the one thought most likely to get passed, was a bipartisan compromise that would expand the background check system to include private sales at gun shows and online.

In a 54-46 vote, the Senate came short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead with the legislation.

According to the poll, 65% of Americans say that the Senate should have passed the background checks bill, with just under one in three saying the Senate should not have passed the measure.

A Washington Post/Pew Research Center survey released last week indicated that 47% of the public described themselves as “angry” or “disappointed” with the Senate vote, with 39% saying they were “relieved” or “happy” about the vote.

Prior to the Senate’s failure to pass the proposal, most national polling indicated that nearly nine in 10 Americans supported expanded background checks for gun sales.

The Gallup survey, like the Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll, points to a partisan divide. Eighty-five percent of Democrats and 64% of independents questioned said the Senate should have passed the proposal. Republicans were divided, with 45% saying the Senate should have advanced the measure and 50% disagreeing.

One of the authors of the bipartisan bill, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said Sunday that the measure can still be revised and approved in the chamber. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided to shelve the amendment on background checks, vowing to bring it back to the Senate floor once they feel confident that it could get more support.

President Barack Obama, who strongly pushed action on gun control, condemned the Senate’s action, saying it marked a “shameful day in Washington.” Speaking from the White House Rose Garden shortly after the amendment failed, the president vowed that this is only “Round One” of the fight for tougher gun laws.

The Gallup poll was conducted April 22-25, with 1,043 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

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