The Washington Times - April 30, 2013, 08:23AM

Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the U.S. Senate should have passed a measure to expand gun-purchase background checks compared with 29 percent who agreed with the chamber’s recent decision to reject it, according to new polling numbers from Gallup.

The data come from Gallup’s daily tracking conducted April 22-25, about a week after the Senate on April 17 failed to pass the measure. The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, and Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, would have expanded background checks to sales online and at gun shows. Federally licensed dealers currently are required to perform checks.

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Eighty-five percent of Democrats think the Senate should have passed the Toomey-Manchin measure, as do 64 percent of independent voters. Republicans were more narrowly split: 45 percent say the chamber should have passed the measure, and 50 percent say it should not have.


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Eighty-three percent of voters also said that if a law mandating universal background checks for all gun purchases was on the ballot — a provision much more far-reaching than the amendment that failed to clear the Senate — they would vote for it. The figure is down slightly from 91 percent in January.


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That idea garnered support from 73 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents and 96 percent of Democrats.


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The survey polled a random sample of 2,049 adults. The question on whether the Senate should have passed the measure to expand background checks was based on a sample of 1,043 adults and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The question on whether people would vote for a law requiring universal background checks was based on a sample of 1,006 adults and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.


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A recent Pew Research Center-Washington Post poll, however, presented a much more split reaction on the Senate’s vote: 39 percent were “happy” or “relieved” that the gun bill failed, while 47 percent were “disappointed” or “angry.” Of those who followed the debate closely, the reaction essentially was even, with 47 percent reacting positively and 48 percent negatively.


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