Gallup poll finds 54 percent hold favorable opinion of NRA

A new Gallup poll finds a majority hold a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The USA Today/Gallup Poll released Thursday found 54 percent of those surveyed say they have a favorable opinion of the gun organization while 38 percent have an unfavorable view.

The latest Gallup survey finding is a slight decline from 2005 when the poll showed 60 percent of Americans with a favorable view of the NRA compared with 34 percent with an unfavorable view. It comes just weeks after 20 elementary school children were killed by a gunman in Connecticut in a shooting that has roiled the U.S. debate over gun control

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The NRA held a press conference a week ago in which the organization's CEO, Wayne LaPierre, argued that the best way to prevent future massacres was to have armed guards at schools. 

The 2005 finding was the highest approval rating Gallup found for the NRA since 1993. The lowest was in 1995 when 42 percent said they had a favorable view of the NRA and 51 percent said they have a favorable view.

The survey found that among the 45 percent of Americans who own a gun in their household, 71 percent have a favorable opinion of the NRA while 25 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 4 percent say they have no opinion. 

For those who do not have a gun in their household, 40 percent said they have a favorable opinion of the NRA while 51 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion and 9 percent have no opinion.

Broken down by party affiliation, Gallup found that 83 percent of Republicans surveyed have a favorable opinion and 14 percent have an unfavorable opinion. The poll reported 36 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the NRA and 58 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Independents, according to the poll's findings, are somewhat in the middle of Republicans and Democrats. Fifty-four percent of Independents have a favorable view of the NRA while 34 percent have an unfavorable view. 

The poll was conducted during Dec. 19-22 among a random sample of 1,038 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.