Widmeyer National Poll: Public Says Arming Teachers with Guns Very Bad Idea

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In light of the Newtown tragedy and the recommendations on gun control policy Vice President Biden will be presenting to President Obama on January 15th, Widmeyer Communications fielded a survey of the American public January 7-10. Slightly more than six in ten (61 percent) say it is a bad idea for educators to have guns in public schools, with 42 percent considering it very bad.

Americans are evenly divided on whether their Congressional representatives' stance on gun control would affect their vote and support for them in the future. One-third (34 percent) say they would be more likely to vote for their representative if he/she opposed gun control measures, one-third (32 percent) would be less likely to vote for him/her and one-third (34 percent) say it would make no difference.

They are, however, solidly in favor of a federal ban on assault weapons: six in ten (60 percent) favor a ban overall and four in ten (41 percent) say they are strongly in favor. Twenty-seven percent are strongly opposed, with four in ten (40 percent) saying they are opposed overall.

A plurality of Americans (39 percent) say parents' lack of supervision is most to blame for violence in school, about twice the number (21 percent) who say violent television shows, movies and video games are at fault. They are less likely to find fault with access to guns (18 percent), access to mental health services (16 percent) or lack of discipline in schools (7 percent).

"With tragedies like Newtown and the recent shooting in Taft, Calif., it is important for U.S. leaders to get serious on new policies to prevent further incidents in our schools, shopping malls and other public places," said Scott Widmeyer, Chairman and CEO, Widmeyer Communications. "This survey clearly demonstrates the challenges ahead. It is critical that lawmakers take critical steps to ensure the safety of our schools and our children."

Other key findings:

While people in general say our schools are safe (82 percent overall), only three in ten (33 percent) say schools are very safe.

Eighteen percent - nearly one in five - view schools as unsafe. Equal numbers say public schools would be much safer places (26 percent) if school officials were armed with guns as feel they would be much more dangerous (23 percent).

Fifty-five percent say another public display of gun violence is very likely to happen in the next three to five years, with 80 percent saying it is likely overall.

The Google Consumer national online survey was fielded January 7-10, 2013. Each question was asked among a representative sample of 1,000 online adults.

If you have questions about the survey or wish to learn more about Widmeyer's research capabilities, please contact Christopher Panetta, 202 667-0901, chris.panetta@widmeyer.com.