Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

May Reason-Rupe Poll: Americans Want Senate to Drop Gun Control, But Oppose 3D-Printed Guns


The newly released May 2013 Reason-Rupe poll finds the public does not want marijuana users to go to jail; supports gay athletes; opposes plastic bag bans and tax increases for universal preschool; believes the government is likely to do more harm than good on domestic terrorism

President Barack Obama has vowed to keep pushing for new gun control measures and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the failed gun vote in the Senate was "just the beginning." However, the latest Reason-Rupe national poll finds just 33 percent of Americans feel the "Senate should debate and vote on gun control legislation again," while 62 percent want the Senate to "move on to other issues."

Earlier this month the world's first fully 3D-printed gun was successfully fired and Reason-Rupe finds Americans are torn on 3D technology.  A substantial 62 percent of Americans say people should be allowed to use 3D printers in their homes. Among those who say Americans should be allowed to have 3-D printers in their home, a majority (53 percent) say Americans should not be allowed to print their own gun parts, 44 percent say they should.

Almost half, 49 percent, of Americans fear the Boston bombings will cause the government to "overreact and enact policies that do more harm than good. " Conversely, 42 percent trust the government to develop policies that help "avoid similar acts of terror."

The May 2013 Reason-Rupe poll conducted live interviews with 1,003 adults on mobile (503) and landline (500) phones from May 9-13, 2013. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percent. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey.

Support for Pending Marijuana Bill, Almost No Support for Jailing Users

A majority of Americans, 52 percent, support a bill that has been introduced in Congress that would prevent the federal government from prosecuting people who grow, possess, or sell marijuana in the states that have legalized it. Forty-two percent oppose the bill.

When asked which approach "government and law enforcement should take toward someone found smoking marijuana or in possession of a small amount of marijuana," the public's desire for overhauling America's drug laws is clear. Just 6 percent of Americans say people found with marijuana should go to jail. In contrast, 35 percent say people smoking or in possession of marijuana should not be punished at all; 32 percent say they should be fined; and 20 percent favor rehabilitation and counseling.

Support for Gay Athletes

Following NBA player Jason Collins' public announcement that he is gay, a quarter of Americans, 25 percent, believe having an openly gay athlete is a positive development for society. Seventeen percent say having an active athlete announce he is gay is a negative change for society and 57 percent feel it makes no impact.

An overwhelming number of Americans—87 percent—say their support would not change (77 percent) or would increase (10 percent) if their favorite athlete announced he or she is gay. Just 12 percent say they'd be less likely to support their favorite athlete after learning he or she is gay. 

Opposition to Plastic Bag Bans

From San Francisco to Austin, city and county governments are banning various types of shopping bags. Yet, 82 percent of those polled say consumers and stores should determine the types of shopping bags available, while 15 percent say the government should decide. Sixty percent of Americans oppose banning plastic grocery or shopping bags, 37 percent approve of a plastic bag ban.

Parents, Not Taxpayers, Should Pay for Preschool

President Obama has proposed expanding government preschool programs, however only 37 percent of Americans favor raising taxes to create a universal preschool system, while 61 percent oppose. When asked who should be "primarily responsible" for paying for preschool, 57 percent of Americans think parents should pay and 32 percent want the government to be responsible for paying.

Americans Want Less Spending, More Independents in Congress in 2014

Three-quarters of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing and 57 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction. With so much dissatisfaction, the new Reason-Rupe poll finds 38 percent of Americans would like to see more independent and third-party candidates win congressional seats in the 2014 midterms, 31 percent prefer more Democrats and 23 percent of Americans would like more Republicans elected next year.

No matter who is elected to Congress, Reason-Rupe finds 54 percent of Americans want the federal government to spend less money next year, 23 percent favor spending the same amount as this year and 16 percent would like to increase federal spending next year.

Half, 50 percent, of Americans approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing, while 43 percent disapprove. The president loses support on his handling of the economy, where 45 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove.

Support for Chained CPI, Health Care Law Loses Popularity

Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized the president's proposal to slow the growth of Social Security by using chained CPI to calculate benefit increases, but President Obama may have the public on his side: 57 percent favor "changing the way benefits are calculated so they increase at a slower rate," while 34 percent oppose such a change to Social Security.

The president's health care law is losing public support, however. Only 32 percent of Americans say they liked the health care law when it was passed and still like it today. Seven percent liked the law when it was passed, but like it less now. Meanwhile, 45 percent disliked the health care law when it was passed and still dislike it. Four percent of Americans say they disliked the law when it passed, but like it more now.

This is the latest in a series of Reason-Rupe public opinion surveys dedicated to exploring what Americans really think about government and major issues.  This Reason Foundation project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. 


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  1. So I can’t use my 3d printer(if I had one) to print a gun because some fear induced control freaks say so!? Bullshit.

    1. Buggy whips man! Think of the buggy whips!

    2. Elizabeth. you think Margaret`s posting is inconceivable… I just got a new Buick after having made $9926 thiss month and-a little over, $10 thousand last munth. it’s actualy the most-financialy rewarding Ive had. I began this six months/ago and pretty much immediately started earning more than $79.. per-hour
      (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

  2. I don’t support an athlete letting me know anything about his life outside athletics, not my concern, I don’t care. I don’t want to see any athlete on a soapbox, they aren’t there for their brains or beliefs, and we give far to much credence to them and actors. About the 3D printer, that train has left the building and is coming to your home. It will change everything, and it is going to happen. People than ban it will fall behind the parts of the world that don’t. The 3D gun is just the tip of the iceberg.

    1. I don’t know if anybody’s mentioned this yet, but 3-D printing is the first version of teleportation technology.

  3. If there is one thing that polls consistently suggest, it’s that most folks are as dumb as a box of rocks.

    1. Although I have to say… Most of those results are pretty encouraging, even if contradictory in spots.

    2. That’s probably what people would say if you polled them about how smart most people are.

  4. That’s awesome such a high percentage don’t support government-universal pre-K given the sacred nature of public education in general. I wonder if those people actually are aware of the studies showing “Head Start” is completely ineffective or if they’re just fed up with big, empty promises.

  5. You want to know what is wrong with this country?

    Only 15 percent of those polled think that the government should decide what kind of bags you can use at the store. Yet 37 percent think plastic bags should be banned.

    Wrap your head around that one.

    And you wonder how we can possibly get “conservative” presidents who expand government more than any of their predecessors and “liberal” presidents who out police-state a lot of 3rd world dictators.

    1. Not hard at all to wrap my head around that one. People think strategically. 22 percent of people may want to ban plastic bags, but if they can’t achieve that, they don’t want gov’t to have the general power to decide what bags should be made of. For instance, what if these people are partisans of paper bags? They may well want plastic bags to be banned, to further their pro-paper policy, but if they don’t know whether gov’t would ban plastic bags or not, they may disfavor a blank check on gov’t’s power to mandate bag materials, because then there may result a ban on paper bags. The point is, when you know you aren’t the boss of the world, your ranking of preferences may result in paradoxes.

      1. You could poll people here on whether they want their state to have voter initiatives. Many of the people who answered “no” to that would answer “yes” to the question of whether they’d want their state to have a referendum on decontrolling psilocybin mushrooms.

  6. It’s useless to continue debating ‘gun control’; let’s start talking about gun owner responsibility.

    “Guns don’t kill people, gun owners do”…

    1. Watch out that the door doesn’t hit you in the ass, Spammy McSpammerton.


  7. 38 percent of Americans would like to see more independent and third-party candidates win congressional seats in the 2014 midterms, 31 percent prefer more Democrats and 23 percent of Americans would like more Republicans elected next year.

    But when it comes to their own representative, they keep electing the same one.

    1. And, as with the bag material example, that paradox is fairly easily explained too. I don’t know why pollsters ask this kind of question; they should know the specific routinely contradicts the general there. People don’t get to vote for the whole Congress, so why ask them about what general kind of candidate should be elected to it?

  8. Don’t people do any kind of woodworking and metalworking at home anymore? It’s easier, faster, and cheaper to make a gun at home with traditional tools than with a 3D printer.

  9. 57 percent favor “changing the way benefits are calculated so they increase at a slower rate,”

    Wow, that’s way better than I would have guessed.

  10. Isabella. if you, thought Johnny`s c0mment is something… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes when I got my cheque for $6362 this – 4 weeks past and a little over 10 grand this past munth. this is really the nicest-work Ive ever had. I began this nine months/ago and almost immediately started to earn over $72, per-hour. I use the details on this web-site
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