Study: Political gap between gun owners and non-owners grows with every election
By Christen Smith
The divide between voting preferences of Americans who own guns and those who do not quadrupled between 1976 and 2012, according to a study published this month in Social Science Quarterly.
University of Kansas researchers determined gun ownership not only predicts a voter’s choice of candidate, but has become one of the most reliable metrics in determining a person’s political preference over the last three decades.
“Gun owners are developing a powerful political identity that rivals other groups’ characteristics in its ability to predict voting behavior,” the study reads. “Indeed, possessing a ﬁrearm increased the likelihood of voting for a Republican candidate, and the gap between gun owners’ and non-gun owners’ voting preferences expanded with every election. We therefore establish a powerful, previously ignored, determinant of vote choice and observe its impact increasing across elections, reaching a level in 2012 nearly 50 percent higher than in 1972.”
By compiling and analyzing the results of the General Social Survey, researchers determined the gap between owners and non-owners who voted for Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon in the 1972 general election was just over 7 percent. In 2012, the last year of the survey studied, the gap between the same voter blocks increased to 30.2