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Poll: Gun violence turning into top issue for voters in 2020

Poll: Gun violence turning into top issue for voters in 2020
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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.

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The increase meant gun control is now the third most important issue for respondents, marking an increase from fifth place last month. 

Health care and immigration were the top two concerns in the poll, with 40 percent saying immigration was a top concern and 33 percent going with health care. 

"It is a significant development that gun violence had been surging as an issue the voters care about," Mark PennMark PennSwing-state polls suggest a narrowed path for Trump's reelection Exclusive poll: Biden up in Mich., Pa., tied with Trump in Fla. Biden holds 5-point lead over Trump in Pennsylvania: 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 John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court GOP noncommittal about vote on potential Trump-Pelosi coronavirus deal Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas 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.
 
The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll surveyed 2,531 registered voters from Aug. 26 to 28. The poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2019.

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.