Poll: NRA's popularity dropping

The NRA’s approval rating has dropped by a net 10 percentage points, according to liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP). Positive views have dropped since late December, just after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Less than a week after the mass shooting, 48 percent viewed the NRA positively while 41 percent viewed the national pro-gun lobby negatively, according to PPP.

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But three weeks after NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre’s controversial press conference, in which he called for armed guards at the nation’s schools, the NRA is underwater in public approval, with 42 percent of respondents holding a positive opinion of the group and 45 percent with a negative perception, according to PPP.

PPP speculates the NRA’s drop in popularity is due to the group’s advocacy for armed guards in schools. Only 41 percent of those polled supported the proposal, and 50 percent opposed. The proposal was unpopular with Democrats and independents by large margins, but it had a 13-point net positive rating among Republicans, 52 to 39 percent.

A majority, 64 percent, also opposed arming teachers, and 53 percent favored Congress passing stricter gun laws.

On Dec. 27, Gallup found that the NRA had a positive net favorability of 16 points, 54 percent to 38. The organization has been viewed favorably in all but one Gallup survey on the group since 1993. 

On Jan. 2, conservative-leaning pollster Rasmussen also found that 54 percent of American adults would feel safer if their child attended a school with an armed security guard; support jumped to 62 percent among parents of school-aged children.

The NRA’s public image could be an important element in any upcoming battle over gun control. Vice President Biden, who is currently conducting meetings on the issue, said Wednesday that President Obama could take executive action to try to curb gun violence.

Biden is scheduled to meet with NRA officials Thursday.