National poll finds shrinking support for NRA

Jan 09, 2013

Public Policy Polling's newest national poll finds that the NRA's image has declined over the last three weeks following Wayne LaPierre's controversial press conference the week before Christmas.

The NRA now has a negative favorability rating, with 42 percent of voters seeing it positively while 45 percent have an unfavorable view. That represents a 10 point net decline in the NRA's favorability from the week before the press conference when a national poll we did found it at 48/41. Its image has taken a hit with both Democrats (from 29/59 to 22/67) and Republicans (71/19 to 66/18).

The NRA's focus on putting more guns in schools is likely what's driving the decline in the organization's image. Only 41 percent of voters support the organization's proposal to put armed police officers in schools across the country, with 50 percent opposed. Democrats (35/57) and independents (38/51) both oppose the push and even among Republicans only a narrow majority (52/39) supports it.

On the broader issue of giving teachers guns, only 27 percent of voters are supportive with 64 percent opposed. There's bipartisan opposition to that concept with Republicans (35/50), independents (31/59), and Democrats (19/77) all standing against it. Gun owners (37/52) oppose it as well.

The holidays and the fiscal cliff took a lot of the spotlight off gun control measures, but in general 53 percent of Americans say they support stricter gun laws with 40 percent opposed.

Congress emerged from the fiscal cliff debate with a 7 percent approval rating, with 81 percent of voters disapproving of it. But the two parties aren't going in for equal blame. While the Democrats in Congress aren't popular (-12 at 38/50) their approval rating is a net 48 points better than their Republican counterparts (-60 at 15/75).The Republicans in Congress have only a 25/61 approval rating even with the GOP base, suggesting the potential for 2014 to bring a lot of primary challenges.

The considerably higher esteem the Democrats in Congress have compared to the Republicans is extending to our early generic ballot polling for 2014- 47 percent of voters say they'd support the Democratic candidate for the House from their district if there was an election today to 41 percent who say they would vote for the GOP nominee.

That disparity in approval numbers extends to the leaders in both the House and Senate. It would have been unthinkable a couple years ago but Nancy Pelosi now has a net approval rating (-21 at 34/55) that's 18 points better than John Boehner's (-39 at 21/60). Boehner has lost the faith of his party base, with Republicans giving him a 36/43 rating. On the Senate side Harry Reid comes in at 30/46 to Mitch McConnell's 24/46. Although both bodies of Congress are unpopular, the Senate (28/56) has a better image with the public than the House (15/69). Asked straight up which body they have a higher opinion of, voters pick the Senate over the House by a 38/27 margin.

Other notes from this poll:

-Barack Obama's approval rating stands at 51/46, up a shade from 50/47 a month ago. Mitt Romney's image has taken a big hit since the election. On our final poll in November he was at 47/50 but now he's dropped a net 8 points to 40/51, suggesting that his public statements since his defeat haven't done much to help his image.

-Chris Christie is now more popular with Democrats nationally than he is with Republicans. His overall favorability is a very strong 51/23, but his +29 standing with Democrats (52/23) is higher than his +21 with GOP voters (48/27). He's most popular with independents at +34 (52/18).  Compared to a month ago he's up a net 12 points with Democrats and down a net 11 points with Republicans.

This analysis is also available at