America’s largest gun lobby has the support of the general public, according to a new poll. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll, 54 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the National Rifle Association, while just 38 percent do not. However, 61 percent of the people polled also said that the NRA reflects their own views only sometimes or never; including 49 percent of the gun owners polled.
A total of 1,038 adult were randomly polled from December 19-22 in response to the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., and results were clearly skewed among party lines. Only 36 percent of polled Democrats supported the NRA, while 83 percent of Republicans, who traditionally are more likely to own firearms and oppose gun control, were in favor of the organization.
The polling also began before the NRA’s Dec. 21 press conference, during which CEO Wayne LaPierre called for “armed police officers in every single school in this nation,” sparking criticism. The NRA stands as strongest representative of gun owning America, and in the poll 71 percent of gun owners held favorable opinions of the group, a stark contrast to the 51 percent of non-gun owners who find the NRA unfavorable.
Among the critics of the NRA’s dealings is Duke University professor Allen Frances, who accused the organization of being a bully. “We must return to a saner gun control policy and finally overcome the political paralysis caused by the bullying of the National Rifle Association,” Frances wrote in a Huffington Post blog piece. “Allowing almost free access to ridiculously powerful firearms will lead inevitably to ever recurring massacres of the innocent.”
Overall, the NRA has seen a slight decline in support, having dropped from a 60 percent favorable rating in Gallup’s 2005 poll. Support for the NRA seems to be deeply rooted in politics, with the large majority of Republicans and gun owners backing the group, despite almost half of gun owners admitting that the NRA did not share their opinions.