Washington’s competing gun measures lose support in polls, study finds

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Kristen Leonard was on the porch of her home on 42nd street near the Butler campus Monday morning at 3:30 a.m. when a man attacked her. She'd been up late studying while her three girls were asleep. (WXIN photo)

OLYMPIA — Support for Washington’s two competing gun initiatives appears to be slipping.

Numbers released Monday by the nonpartisan Elway Polling Group show support for I-594 — an initiative that would expand background checks for all gun sales and transfers in Washington — settling, but still leading. Support for competing I-591 — an initiative that would prevent Washington from enacting background check laws stricter than the national average — also waned.

I-594 saw support drop from 48 percent “Definitely For” the measure in April, down to 43 percent in October. The number of people polled who were “Definitely Against” the initiative rose from 10 percent in April, to 22 percent in October.

The numbers dropped for I-591, too.  Thirty-three percent of voters polled were “Definitely For” the measure in April, compared to only 23 percent “Definitely For” it this month. Thirty percent of people polled are “Definitely Against” the measure now, as opposed to only 21 percent of people “Definitely Against” the measure in April.

People were also asked if the state should keep background checks as more extensive or as is, with results remaining roughly the same over time. Around 60 percent of those polled wanted more extensive background checks in April, and the same number was polled in October.

Some 35 percent of respondents said they currently had a firearm in their home. Fifty-four percent of gun owners said they would vote for I-594. Gun owners were largely split on I-591, polling showed, with 45 percent of gun owners planning to vote no and 38 percent yes.

The Elway Poll is an independent, non-partisan analysis of public opinion in Washington and the Northwest, published since 1992, the group claims.

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