Poll: Plurality see NRA endorsement as a negative

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"The vast majority of Americans, including a majority of gun owners, support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun," Obama said Monday in Minneapolis, at an event with law enforcement officials.

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.

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