-55% of Arizona voters think their state should have stricter gun laws, compared to 38% who disagree. That's a higher degree of support for increased gun control in the wake of last month's shootings in Tucson than national polls are showing. A recent CBS poll showed just 46% of voters across the country in support of tougher laws on guns and ABC and NBC both put the number at 52%.
Democrats are pretty much unanimous in their feeling that the state should have stricter gun laws- 81% in support to only 14% in opposition. Independents hold that view as well although only narrowly, 48/43. What might be most interesting are the numbers with Republicans- a majority are opposed as you would expect, at 55%. But 36% of GOP voters supporting stricter gun laws is a pretty high number and suggests that what happened in the state might have been a bit of a wake up call.
Two other related points on the gun issue: 53% of voters think state Senators should not be allowed to carry guns in the legislative chamber- which they are currently allowed to do- compared to only 37% who believe they should be permitted to do that. And 92% think the mentally ill should be prevented from buying guns.
-There was endless debate in the weeks after the Tucson shootings about whether Sarah Palin bore any responsibility for what happened. The answer from voters in Arizona is a resounding no- only 25% think she deserves any of the blame while 68% think she does not. It's not that voters in the state like Palin- we showed earlier this week that she's quite unpopular there with only 39% of voters having a favorable opinion of her to 57% with a negative one. But for the most part they're not going so far as to think her target map had anything to do with last month's tragedy.
-Finally John McCain continues to be quite unpopular at home, with only 40% of voters approving of his job performance to 49% disapproving. You might wonder then why if he's so unpopular he was so easily reelected in November. The main reason for his bad approval numbers is that he doesn't have a solid party base behind him- only 53% of Republicans think he's doing a good job to 35% who disapprove.
For sake of comparison Jon Kyl's numbers within the party are 74% approve, 14% disapprove. But McCain was just strong enough with GOP voters last year to survive a primary challenge and those folks voted for him in the general election whether they like him or not. And once he got to the fall his 27% approval rating with Democrats is ahead of the curve for crossover support so between a unified if unenthused party base and a decent amount of support across party lines he was able to win resoundingly even though most voters in the state don't like him.
Full results here