Gun violence is becoming a top concern for voters ahead of 2020 elections, surpassing the economy and jobs in terms of issues that they most care about, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill.
The survey showed that 27 percent of respondents said that gun violence was their top issue, up from 20 percent last month. That surpassed the 23 percent of respondents who said the economy and employment were their top concern.
The increase meant gun control is now the third most important issue for respondents, marking an increase from fifth place last month.
"It is a significant development that gun violence had been surging as an issue the voters care about," Mark PennMark PennPoll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Poll: Biden, Trump statistically tied in favorability Majority of voters say country is on the wrong track: poll MORE, co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey, said.
"While 57 percent say they approve of the economic performance of the administration, an excellent job on the economy can mean fewer people are worried about it. If gun violence stays as an important issue, that could be expected to help drive Democratic turnout," he continued.
The poll comes as Americans grapple with a string of mass shootings, most recently in Odessa, Texas, on Saturday that killed seven people.
Over 30 people were killed last month in back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
House Democrats have already passed background check legislation and are slated to vote on additional bills as soon as next week.
However, Republicans in the Senate likely won't support any measures put forth by Democrats unless they get support from President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill A politicized Supreme Court? That was the point The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Democrats optimistic after Biden meetings MORE (R-Ky.) said in an interview on Tuesday that the Trump administration was in the process of deciding what kind of legislation it would support to combat gun violence.
Democratic presidential hopefuls have been hitting Trump and Republicans for what they say is a lack of action on the issue.
Trump has thrown out a number of ideas on how to address the issue since the El Paso and Dayton shootings and has previously appeared open to expanding background checks at times.
But the president has recently focused on mental health as a solution.
“It would be wonderful to say — to say 'eliminate,' but we want to substantially reduce the violent crime — and actually, in any form. Any of its evil forms. This includes strong measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous and deranged individuals, and substantial reforms to our nation's broken mental health system,” Trump said on Sunday.
Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.