A majority of Americans support Walmart's entry into the national gun debate, even if they think the company was motivated by publicity
REUTERS/ Michelle McLoughlin
- A new Insider poll found that more than 60% of respondents support Walmart's decision to discontinue handgun and ammunition sales.
- Walmart's move comes in the aftermath of two deadly mass shootings in its own stores.
- Most of those supporters believe the company was acting in good faith, though a third of them think the decision was motivated by publicity.
- Democrats were almost unanimously in favor of the move, but Republicans were polarized on the issue, with 40% of respondents in support of Walmart, and 55% against.
- The divide in Republican support suggests attitudes towards guns may be shifting within the party's base.
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Walmart made waves in the retail world last Tuesday, when it announced a sizable overhaul of its gun policies - and according to a new Insider poll, the majority of Americans support the company's decision."We've also been listening to a lot of people inside and outside our company as we think about the role we can play in helping to make the country safer," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, wrote in a memo to employees. "It's clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable." His memo directly referenced two recent mass shootings taking place in Walmart stores in El Paso, Texas and Southaven, Mississippi.
Insider polled more than a thousand American adults for their views on Walmart's stand in the national gun debate, asking whether or not they support the retailer's decision to remake its gun policies. More than 60% said they did, with 39% saying, "I support Walmart's decision, and I believe the company was acting in good faith," and 23% saying, "I support Walmart's decision, but I believe it was for publicity."The company is expected to see a decrease in market share in ammunition from 20% to between 6% and 9%.
But the day after the announcement, Walmart's stock skyrocketed. Whether or not they support the retailer, more than 40% of those polled said they believe the move was motivated by publicity rather than good faith.Respondents in the poll were asked to report their political affiliations, disclosing whether they plan to participate in their states' primaries and caucuses. Self-identified Democratic voters were overwhelmingly in favor of Walmart's decision, with 85% saying they support it. The topic was more polarizing for Republican voters, who were split on the issue, with 40% in favor of Walmart's decision and 55% opposed.
Previous polls run by both Gallup and Pew Research Center have found that around 60% of Americans support stricter gun laws. The results of Insider's poll align with this perception, further indicating that consumers are also supportive of retailers playing a role in enforcing gun control.
Divided Republican support for Walmart's decision suggests that attitudes may be shifting among the party's constituents when it comes to gun policy - and the recent spate of deadly mass shootings may be pushing the country closer to consensus on guns.SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. Total 1,090 respondents collected September 6 to September 7, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.07 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.
Read more:Walmart asked shoppers to stop openly carrying guns in its stores, but won't necessarily punish those who do
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