But the National Rifle Association has argued against the practice, saying that the expansion of background checks would place a burden on legal gun owners and be ignored by criminals.
“If I want to sell you a shotgun or something like that ... we'll have to go find a dealer or walk into a police station. Who's going to do the check? There's going to be fees. There's going to be paperwork. There's going to be law-abiding people caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare," NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told Fox News last month.
The PPP poll released Tuesday showed a majority — 53 percent — of voters say they support stricter gun laws, while 39 percent stand in opposition. Those numbers are virtually identical to a month ago, showing little deterioration with distance from the December Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. More than half — 51 percent — say they support an assault weapons ban.
The survey also showed broad support for a number of President Obama's other second-term goals. A plurality of voters (39-33 percent) support the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as secretary of Defense, despite a widely panned performance at last week's Senate confirmation hearing. A large majority of voters (64 percent) and even a plurality of Republicans (44-41 percent) support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a major tentpole of the president's proposed immigration reforms.
Still, there were encouraging signs for Republicans. Congressional Republicans now field a 22 percent approval rating — up from just 15 percent a month ago. The party's base seems primed to rally after a tough Election Day, with 89 percent of self-identified Republicans saying they would support their party's candidate in an election held today. That's up from 81 percent a month ago.
Obama's approval rating has also slipped below 50 percent, according to the survey. While the president still maintains a 49-48 percent advantage, the president falls below the psychologically important 50 percent threshold.