So, should we actually believe the polls that say things like, “Overall, 59 percent of respondents said it was “very” or “somewhat” important that elected leaders in the U.S. pass stricter gun control laws”? Because that’s the narrative getting spun right now:

Big, if true:

But here’s what the headline isn’t saying: This percentage is actually DOWN from 2019. From Bloomberg:

About 60% of voters in a Morning Consult poll last week — after a White supremacist armed with a semi-automatic rifle killed 10 Black people in a racist attack in Buffalo, New York — said they support stricter gun control laws. But that number is down from 66% in 2019, after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and before President Joe Biden was elected.

This excerpt of the polling via Politico is also spin. Only 34% said “passing legislation placing additional restrictions on gun ownership” is a top priority:

And CNN’s data journalist, Harry Enten, warned people that the “public at large is far more split on the issue than a lot of commonly cited polling data would have you believe”:

Enten writes:

Here’s the thing: There’s no sign the polling on background checks holds up in elections. Consider the results of ballot measures in two states in 2016: Maine and Nevada voted within a point of the national presidential vote that year. The latter is quite ethnically diverse, while the former is overwhelmingly White.
A proposal to expand background checks passed by less than a point in Nevada and failed by a little less than 4 points in Maine.
Why would Republicans feel political pressure to support more gun control, when something that polls as well as universal background checks can’t surpass the Democratic presidential baseline in swing states?