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A new poll released Thursday showed a majority of American adults say gun policies were “extremely important” when it came to how they decide to cast their vote in this year’s midterm elections, despite just 8% citing guns as the most important problem facing the country.
The poll, conducted June 1-20 by Gallup, also showed a larger majority of American adults favor stricter gun laws, up from a seven-year low last October, although support for the implementation of more strict measures was largely split along party lines.
The results of the poll come just one month following the tragic mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, appearing to drive the shift in favor of greater restrictions on firearms.
According to the poll, 66% of Americans say they support stricter gun laws, up 14 points from the low of 52% in October of last year. 25% said the laws should remain as they are, while just 8% said laws should be less strict.
The results showed a clear split along party lines with 94% of Democrats supporting stricter laws, but just 66% of independents and 38% of Republicans expressing support.
55% of adults said they prefer Congress pass new gun laws in addition to enforcing current laws, a new record-high. Those saying they supported new laws were also largely split along party lines, with 86% of Democrats in favor, and just 57% of independents and 24% of Republicans in favor.
One of the most striking numbers in the poll showed 55% said gun policies were “extremely important” when it came to their vote in the midterm elections, with 27% saying it was “very important.”
This combined 82% was the highest recorded by Gallup since 2000.
The split along party lines for the latter question was significantly smaller than the previous ones, with 65% of Democrats, 54% of Republicans, and 48% of Independents saying gun policies were “extremely important” to their votes in November.
The poll also found that support for banning “assault rifles” had dropped over the years, down to 55% from 61% in Aug. 2019. The poll did not, however, provide a definition of an “assault rifle,” which are commonly incorrectly conflated with semi-automatic firearms.
In addition, the poll found only 27% of Americans supported a ban on the possession of handguns other than by law enforcement and other “authorized persons.”
A separate poll conducted by Fox News earlier in June also showed bipartisan support for a range of gun reform laws, and that having tougher gun laws would reduce mass shootings. The Fox poll also showed voters see inflation as the main election issue in the 2022 midterms at 41%, while the issue of guns came in second at 12%.
Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.