When Wisconsinites were polled last year about a new state law allowing possession of concealed weapons, most men supported it.
But women were overwhelmingly opposed.
In fact, no other issue in Marquette Law School’s broad and frequent polling of Wisconsin voters last year so divided the sexes — not Medicare, “Obamacare,” gay marriage, taxes, school funding, collective bargaining, recalls, mining, military spending, abortion or immigration.
In one January 2012 poll, the gender gap on “concealed carry” was a massive 27 points — 59% approval among men, 32% among women.
This is a look at two key fault lines in public opinion about guns. Gender is one. Partisanship is the other.
Democrats and Republicans have drifted far apart on guns, as they have on so many issues. That poses a huge obstacle to getting legislation passed in a period of divided government, because there is so little common ground between the parties.
The gender gap on guns also has big political implications. Just as the Democratic Party may have been hurt with male voters in the past by supporting gun control, the Republican Party risks compounding its problems with female voters in taking a hard line against gun restrictions.
Overall, national polls point to a public shift in favor of stricter gun laws since the school massacre last month in Newtown, Conn.
But while there’s broad support for some changes in the gun laws, the public is divided over others — by region, age, type of community (urban, suburban, rural), and especially gender and party.
Gender gap on guns
As a simple yardstick of opinion on the issue, the nonpartisan Pew poll asks whether it’s more important to “protect the right of Americans to own guns” or to….