Consider the NBC News poll taken just before the 2022 midterm election asking voters about “the most important issue facing the country.”
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The gun issue is at the very bottom of the list, with only 3% of voters calling guns the most important issue. Above guns? A long list of topics also continually in the news: 23% of voters said “threats to democracy” was their number one issue, 20% said “jobs and the economy,” 17% said the “cost of living,” 9% said “abortion,” 8% said “immigration,” 6% said “crime,” 4% said “health care” and another 4% said “climate change.”
It’s not that voters don’t care about guns, it’s that voters have a long list of issues than concern them and when they rank areas of interest, guns lower tend to sit lower on the list. …
Gallup tends to ask about gun control in its October surveys every year, but it also asks immediately after some mass shootings. Look at the polling around two particularly horrific slayings, the school shootings in Parkland, Florida in 2018 and Uvalde, Texas, last year.
In October 2017, 60% of those surveyed said they favored stricter gun laws. Soon after the February 2018 Parkland shooting, the number climbed to 67%. But by October, the figure had dropped back to 61%.
In October 2021, 52% said they favored stricter gun laws. After the shootings in Uvalde in May, the “stricter” number climbed by 14 points, to 66%. But by October, just before last year’s midterm elections, the figure had dropped by 9 points, back to 57%. (The Safer Communities Act was passed in June, just after Uvalde.)
The 57% in October is below the October 2018 number — and remember, that decline happened even as the number of mass shootings climbed.
To be clear, this pattern isn’t set in stone. There might come a time when a mass shooting or a series of mass shootings is enough to create a massive shift in opinion that breaks through in Washington. But as of now, the string of mass shootings this month looks like a fairly typical month in the story of guns in the U.S.
— Dante Chinni in Why Does Washington Not Act on Guns? Voters Say It’s Low Priority.