Voters Like High School Gun Protesters; Don’t Like NRA

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Here are the highlights of Public Policy Polling’s newest national poll.


PPP’s newest national poll finds that Americans like the high school students leading protests against gun violence across the country a whole lot more than they like the NRA. The high school students receive a positive 56/34 favorability rating for their efforts, while the NRA is upside down with 39% of voters seeing it favorably and 44% negatively.

There’s 87% support for background checks for all gun buyers, compared to only 8% of voters who are opposed to that. That policy has the backing of 89% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans and independents. It’s hard to find anything 87% of Americans agree on- in fact on this same poll we found that only 81% think the sky is blue with 11% disputing that notion.

We also found 64/26 support for a ban on assault weapons, again with bipartisan agreement. Democrats (78/15), independents (61/25), and Republicans (49/40) are all in agreement. In general 60% of voters say they want stronger gun laws to 32% who are opposed.

One new gun proposal voters don’t like though is giving them to teachers. Only 35% of voters think that’s a good idea, to 53% who say it’s a bad one.


Democrats continue to have a solid advantage on the generic Congressional ballot, leading 50-39. That edge grows to 55-39 among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ to vote this year. Democrats lead by 14 points at 44-30 among independents.

One piece of the Democratic advantage is that Republican Congressional leaders are extremely unpopular. Only 23% approve of the job Paul Ryan is doing to 58% who disapprove. He is only narrowly popular with Trump voters (44/39) and almost universally disliked by Clinton voters (6/76). Mitch McConnell is even worse off, with only 12% of voters approving of him to 62% who disapprove. He has similar numbers to Ryan with Clinton voters (7/69) but in contrast to Ryan is strongly disliked even by Trump voters (21/54). In 2010 Republicans used Nancy Pelosi’s unpopularity to great effect- Democrats may be able to do the same thing with Ryan and McConnell this time around.

Another thing causing Republicans trouble is that the tax bill isn’t doing them any favors. Only 31% of voters say they support it to 40% who are opposed. Continuing with that 31% figure, only 31% of voters think the tax plan is actually going to help their family’s finances with 33% saying they think it will actually hurt, and 29% saying they think it will not have any impact. 57% think the tax plan will mostly help the rich to 29% who think the middle class will be the biggest beneficiaries.

That feeds into a broader point that not that many Americans really feel like their personal economic situations are getting better. 34% say they’re better off than they were a year ago to 30% who say they’re worse off, and 34% who say they’re in about the same place. Those numbers have declined along with the stock market over the last six weeks- in early February 37% said they were better off than they were a year ago to only 20% who said worse off.

An 11 point win on the Congressional ballot would probably give Democrats control of the House this fall but that would be a much greater certainty if district lines across the country were more fair, and voters across party lines wish that was the case. 57% say they would support laws ensuring nonpartisan redistricting to only 15% opposed to that concept. It has support from independents (64/8), Democrats (60/13), and Republicans (45/24) alike.

Donald Trump

 Donald Trump has one of the worst approval ratings we’ve found for him since he took office this month, with only 39% of voters approving of the job he’s doing to 54% who disapprove. 54% of voters wish Barack Obama was still President, to only 40% who are glad that Trump is.

Trump fares poorly on several basic leadership metrics. 52% of voters characterize him as a ‘liar,’ to 41% who disagree with that description. 57% of voters still want to see his tax returns, to only 38% who are alright with him keeping them private. And just 38% think he has delivered on his core promise to ‘Make America Great Again,’ to 54% who say he has not.

In hypothetical match ups for reelection Trump trails Joe Biden 56-39, Bernie Sanders 55-39, Elizabeth Warren 51-40, Cory Booker 49-39, Kamala Harris 43-39, and Kirsten Gillibrand 42-40. Trump is consistently at 39% or 40% no matter who you poll him against.

Stormy Daniels

We also tested Trump against 2 other hypothetical opponents- although they are one and the same. In groundbreaking research PPP determined that someone’s porn star name costs them 10 points as a candidate for President. Stephanie Clifford leads Trump 42-41 in a hypothetical match up for reelection. But tested under her stage name of Stormy Daniels, she trails Trump 41-32. Trump’s 41% is consistent across the two match ups, but when Clifford shifts to Daniels she loses 10 points of her support.

60% of voters think it’s immoral if Trump had an affair with Daniels, to 21% who say it’s not immoral. Trump voters are pretty divided on the question though- only 41% think it’s immoral if he had an affair with Daniels to 33% who say it’s not and 26% who are not sure.

We also as an experiment asked voters if they think it would be immoral if Bill Clinton had an affair with Daniels. Trump voters think that would be immoral by an 18 point margin (46/28) compared to just the 8 point margin for Trump having an affair with Daniels. Hillary Clinton voters were more consistent, saying it would be immoral for Trump to by a 60 point margin (74/14) and saying it would be immoral for Bill Clinton to by a 62 point margin (75/13). Still the Trump Presidency seems to have shifted the moral standards Republicans hold Bill Clinton to quite a bit compared to what they were 20 years ago.

DACA and the Wall

Voters really like the Dream Act. 63% support it, to 24% who are opposed. It has overwhelming support from Clinton voters (79/13) and narrow support from Trump voters (43/40).

Voters really do not like the wall with Mexico. Only 35% support it, to 58% who are opposed.


Only 26% of voters overall want Robert Mueller to be fired in order to bring the Russia investigation to a close, compared to 57% of voters who are opposed to that. Among Trump voters though 49% do want Mueller fired, to only 27% against getting rid of him.

None of the questions we repeatedly ask about Russia tend to move very much. 46% of voters think Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to 41% who think it didn’t. In September those numbers were 44% and 42%. 37% of voters think the Trump/Russia story is just ‘fake news,’ to 50% who say it isn’t. In September the numbers were 39% and 48%. The level of caring if the Trump team did collude with Russia hasn’t really changed either. 54% of voters think Trump should resign if collusion is proven, to 39% who don’t think he should. In September the numbers were 52% and 39%. None of the new revelations over the last six months have really broken the dam when it comes to public opinion about the investigation.

37% of voters think it was appropriate for Trump to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his reelection, with 45% of voters calling the move inappropriate with opinions generally breaking down based on whether people voted for Trump or not.

Austin Attacks

Voters are relatively divided on whether the recent bombings in Austin constitute terrorism or not. 42% say they were acts of terrorism, to 33% who say they were not. We then posed a hypothetical of whether they would have been acts of terrorism if they had been committed by a Muslim. Trump voters go from saying that the Austin attacks were terrorism by only a 40/38 spread to saying that they would have been terrorism if the responsible party was a Muslim by a 55/21 spread. Even though there’s some reluctance to call this particular set of crimes terrorism, 81% of voters do at least think it’s possible for white Americans to be terrorists, compared to just 10% who disagree with that notion.


-37% of voters think Joe Biden would win a fistfight with Donald Trump, 32% think Trump would win, and 30% have no opinion either way.

-The NCAA is perhaps a less hated entity than you might expect with 35% of voters rating it favorably, 31% unfavorably, and 34% having no opinion either way. Only 29% think college athletes should be paid, to 57% who say they shouldn’t be.

-And finally 34% of voters think a hot dog is a sandwich to 51% who say it is not. When we polled on this in 2016 only 29% thought a hot dog was a sandwich and 60% said it was not. So much like our polling on gay marriage, marijuana legalization, and whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie the public may be evolving on this important issue but we will have to keep tracking it over time to see if the trend continues.

Full results here

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