Americans overwhelmingly support gun background checks, poll shows

Voters support background checks by a margin of 92 percent to 7 percent, a Quinnipiac University telephone poll shows.

More than 90 percent of U.S. voters supported background checks for all gun buyers, while much smaller majorities were for stricter gun control laws such as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, according to a poll released Thursday.

But the National Rifle Association edged out President Barack Obama in the poll, with 46 percent saying the pro-gun lobby better reflects their views on guns, versus 43 percent for Obama.

By a margin of 92 percent to 7 percent, voters supported background checks, the Quinnipiac University telephone poll showed. In households with a gun, 91 percent were in favor, while 8 percent were opposed, Quinnipiac said.

In response to the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Conn., Obama last month announced a series of gun-control measures opposed by the NRA, including proposals for enhanced background checks and a ban on military-style assault weapons.

House Democrats were expected to announce their own firearms legislation on Thursday.

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A majority of those surveyed supported stricter national gun control laws, Quinnipiac said. Fifty-six percent were for a ban on the sale of assault weapons, and the same percentage supported a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines, defined as those holding more than 10 rounds.

Congress would need to approve those initiatives and background checks.

"The politics of gun policy are also unclear," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement. "Despite the huge news media coverage of the issue since the Newtown shooting, only 37 percent of voters are more likely to vote for a congressman who votes to ban sales of assault rifles, while 31 percent are less likely, and 30 percent say it would not affect their vote."

The poll surveyed 1,772 registered voters from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points, Quinnipiac said.

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