Wisconsin Poll Shows Support For Conceal Carry; Background Checks

By John Celock

A new poll shows Wisconsin voters are split between a variety of gun related issues, including backing concealed carry, but also expanding expanded background checks.

The split between support for NRA-favored measures such as the state’s concealed carry law, and gun control group pushed measures like ending the gun show loophole were found in a new Marquette poll released Thursday. The poll also indicated opposition to a proposal to allow concealed carry in schools. In terms of the concealed carry law, Wisconsinites are showing increased support for a proposal they narrowly opposed when it was adopted in 2012.

The poll showed that 63 percent of those surveyed back the concealed carry law, while 31 percent oppose it. This is a change from a 2012 survey that showed between 46 and 47 percent supported the law when it was adopted then, while between 49 and 51 percent opposed it then. The new poll show overwhelmingly support from households that have a gun, while narrow opposition from non-gun owning households.

While the poll shows more support for concealed carry in the state, Wisconsin residents are indicating that they are pushing back against expanding gun rights and showing more support for gun control.

As for proposals to bring concealed carry guns on to school property or into schools, the poll indicates that 35 percent support the proposal while 61 percent oppose it.

Support for background checks for the sale of guns at gun shows and for private sales of weapons has grown since the 2012 poll. The new poll shows 85 percent of those surveyed support the increased background checks while 12 percent oppose them. The 2012 survey had 71 percent in favor and 26 percent opposed.

The poll also indicated that former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D) continues to lead the man who unseated him six years ago, Sen. Ron Johnson (R), 50 percent to 37 percent. A poll in November had Feingold up 49 percent to 38 percent.

Feingold, who served three terms in the Senate, is considered one of the top Democratic Senate recruits nationally, seeking to regain the seat he lost to Johnson in the 2010 Republican wave. Since leaving the Senate, Feingold has worked as an envoy on African issues for the State Department.

The race has taken on a debate between the two over their records in the Senate and in the private sector. Republicans have criticized Feingold’s work outside of Wisconsin since leaving office, while Democrats are saying Johnson skipped too many hearings of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee before becoming the panel’s chairman a year ago. Johnson has made his work on homeland security issues central to his reelection campaign.