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In the Wake of the Parkland Shooting, Support for Gun Control Legislation Surges to New High

PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 17: Ana Paula Lopez (L) is hugged by Cathy Kuhns during a protest against guns on February 17, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Earlier this week former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a AR-15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images,)

A new Quinnipiac Poll released on Monday shows that Americans support stricter gun control laws by a 66%-31% margin, which is the largest margin ever reported by the poll since it began polling the question in 2013 after the Sandy Hook massacre.


The poll found that support for universal background checks has surged to 97% and a renewed assault weapons ban enjoys 67% support.

The poll was conducted in the aftermath of the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in which a gunman armed with an AR-15 murdered 17 students and faculty.

"American voters support stricter gun laws 66 - 31 percent, the highest level of support ever measured" by Qunnipiac, per the poll. Stricter access to guns has "50 - 44 percent support among gun owners and 62 - 35 percent support from white voters with no college degree and 58 - 38 percent support among white men."

Quinnipiac indicated almost unanimous support among Americans for mandatory background checks, by a margin of 97 - 2 percent.

MassINCPolling president Steve Koczela noted that "in all my years of polling, I don't recall seeing 97% support for anything."

Those polled also favored banning assault weapons ban by 67 - 29 percent, and 83 - 14 percent want mandatory waiting periods for firearm purchases.

"It is too easy to buy a gun in the U.S. today, American voters say 67 - 3 percent," the poll also found. "If more people carried guns, the U.S. would be less safe, voters say 59 - 33 percent. Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence, voters say 75 - 17 percent."

Two-thirds of Americans favoring gun control is "a record high since Quinnipiac University started asking the question after Sandy Hook," Lisa Feierman tweeted on Tuesday.

"If you think Americans are largely unmoved by the mass shootings, you should think again. Support for stricter gun laws is up 19 points in little more than 2 years," said assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, Tim Malloy. "In the last two months, some of the biggest surges in support for tightening gun laws comes from demographic groups you may not expect, independent voters, men, and whites with no college degree."

In addition to gun control, the Quinnipiac poll showed Democrats leading Republicans 53 -38 percent on a generic ballot, 8 months ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Independents also favor Democrats by 11 points, leading Republicans by a 47 - 36 percent margin, according to the poll.

Voter enthusiasm also favored heavily in the Democratic column. Democrats are more motivated to vote than Republicans by 59 - 41 percent, an 18 percent margin. "Young voters more motivated than older ones, women more than men, blacks/Hispanics more than whites," CNBC's John Harwood noted.

Quinnipiac polled 1,249 people with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.