WASHINGTON —New national polling results released Thursday showed widespread support for enhanced background checks on firearm purchases.
The poll conducted by the North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, which does polls mostly for Democrats and progressives, found that 71 percent of Louisiana voters support “requiring background checks for all gun sales, including gun shows and the Internet.” Nationally, polling has shown that closer to 90 percent of Americans support the background checks.
The polling data also showed that 44 percent of voters in Louisiana said they are more likely to vote for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in her reelection bid next year, because she voted for background checks. Twenty-six said they are now less likely to vote for her, according to the poll.
The polling data involved surveying 536 Louisiana voters on April 30 and May 1 through automated phone calls with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent. The poll was funded by the Americans United for Change, a self-proclaimed left-leaning organization.
Last month, Landrieu voted for a proposal that would have expanded criminal background checks to cover all commercial and online gun sales and ended the so-called gun show “loophole” of buying guns at events without proper checks. The measure was defeated in the Senate.
The proposal would have exempted background checks on unadvertised private transfers of weapons, including among family members. The legislation banned creating any kind of federal gun registry.
Landrieu, however, voted against an assault weapons ban and ammunition limits. She also voted in favor of loosening gun control on a failed Republican proposal to allow national reciprocity on concealed carry handgun permits.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., voted against the background check expansion and other gun control measures.
Kirby Goidel, a political analyst and director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, said he believes the polling numbers are accurate, but he cautioned against reading too much into the data affecting her reelection that is more than a year away.
“Background checks are pretty popular,” Goidel said. “But I doubt the implication that it’d have on her reelection. I doubt many Republicans will vote for her because of that.”
But Goidel also argued he does not think the votes will hurt Landrieu either. “The key is if it can be used as part of the narrative that she’s too liberal for Louisiana and doesn’t support gun rights enough,” he added.
Landrieu’s chief opponent for 2014 thus far is Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, who was critical of her in an email response on Thursday.
“Background checks are already the law. This is not the issue,” Cassidy stated. “Sen. Landrieu voted for a bill, which would not have prevented the tragedy of Sandy Hook or the tragedy of inner city gun violence, but would have expanded the size and scope of government and infringed upon law-abiding citizens.”
Although Cassidy opposes gun control, prior to last month’s Senate vote, he had said he was unsure on the measure that only involved enhanced background checks. He said he would need to review the language and that he could consider supporting it only if he was confident it did not infringe on Second Amendment rights.