The 2019 Illinois Issues Survey conducted by the University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office and NPR Illinois finds a majority of Illinois voters support mental health background checks on all firearm purchases. The survey also found voter support for banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition sales in Illinois.
Consistent with the 2018 survey, approximately nine in ten respondents (92%) support mental health background checks on all firearm purchases. When looking at key subgroups in the state, support remains consistently high. The survey found 94% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents support mental health background checks, compared to 91% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Non-leaning independents responded with 90% in support of such a policy.
A six-percentage point difference separates downstate residents (88%) from Cook County (94%) residents, and a seven-percentage point difference separates downstate residents from collar county residents (95%). Notably, 92% of voters living in a household with firearms support mental health background checks, slightly less than voters in households without firearms (94%).
In a substantial increase from last year, the 2019 survey found 72% of Illinois voters support an assault weapons ban, compared to 58% in 2018. National polls, including an August 2019 Fox News Poll, have also shown growing support for an assault weapons ban nationwide over the past year.
“There is notable partisan variation in support for this policy,” said A.J. Simmons, Ph.D., director of the UIS Survey Research Office. “While 83% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents support this policy, a small majority (56%) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do. Non-leaning independents are in the middle of the two partisan groups at 64%.”
The survey also found a notable variation across the regions of the state. While 79% of Cook County voters support an assault weapons ban, 73% of collar county voters and 63% percent of downstate voters do. Further, while slightly over three-quarters (77%) of voters living in non-firearm owning households support this policy, 59% of voters living in firearm owning homes do.
A new question in the 2019 survey asked respondents about their attitudes towards banning ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds, commonly referred to as high-capacity magazines. The survey found 74% of Illinois voters support banning high-capacity magazines. While 83% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning Illinois voters support such a policy, 62% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters do. Two-thirds (67%) of non-leaning independents support a ban on high-capacity magazines. Further, while over three-fourths (78%) of Cook County voters support such a ban, less than two-thirds (65%) of downstate voters do.
The 2019 Illinois Issues Survey was designed and analyzed by the staff of the Center for State Policy and Leadership, the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies and the Survey Research Office at the University of Illinois Springfield. The survey was fielded from Sept. 13-23, 2019 among a sample of 1,012 registered voters as part of an online panel provided by Qualtrics. For all respondents the credibility interval is plus or minus 3.5. While a margin of error is often used to express uncertainty in polling, for online surveys credibility intervals are used to measure the accuracy, or uncertainty, of the survey.
A full summary of this portion of the 2019 Illinois Issues Survey can be found on the UIS Survey Research Office website. For survey analysis and questions, contact A.J. Simmons, Ph.D., director of the UIS Survey Research Office, at 217-206-8109 or email@example.com.