Wednesday, May 10, 2017

'Gun gap' has widened in recent years between Republican and Democratic voters

Gun ownership among Republican and Democratic voters was once similar, but has diverged over the past 40 years, Mark Joslyn and Don Haider-Markel of the University of Kansas report for The Washington Post. In 1976, 50 percent of Republicans owned a gun, compared to 45 percent of Democrats. Data from the the American National Election Studies shows that 62 percent of gun owners supported Trump, up from 58 percent for Mitt Romney in 2012 and 52 percent for John McCain in 2008. (Post graphic: Gun ownership by party)
The researchers don't suggest a rural pattern for the data, but there has been a rural shift towards Republican candidates in the past four elections and rural residents are more likely to own guns than their urban counterparts. Also, data suggest a gradual die-off of gun-owning Democrats. (Post graphic: How Republican gun owners voted for president )
The shift in gun ownership began in the 1980s. By 2016, only 23 percent of Democrats reported having a gun in the home, a decline of 22 percent since 1976. At the same time, Republican gun ownership in 2012 was 54 percent, the same figure reported in 1973 and four percentage points higher than 1976.

The "gun gap" between Republicans and Democrats peaked in 2012 during President Obama's victories, with a 30 percent difference between Republican and Democratic gun owners, the researchers write. The gap was 24 points during Trump's presidential run, the second-highest percentage since 1976.

They note that the Republican-Democratic gap remains "after controlling for conventional predictors such as voters’ party identification, ideological leanings, educational attainment, demographics and place of residence."

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