Poll: Despite mass shooting, most Colo. voters don't favor stricter gun laws

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(CBS News) Despite recent gun-related tragedies in Colorado and Wisconsin, most voters there, and in Virginia another critical battleground state - do not favor stricter gun laws and do not believe stricter arms laws would help prevent acts of mass violence, according to a Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll released this morning.

Conducted from July 31 to August 6, the poll shows the majority of likely voters in all three swing states do not favor stricter regulations for gun sales.

Voters in Colorado, where a gunman last month killed 12 and injured many more when he opened fire in a crowded movie theater, were most likely to favor keeping gun laws exactly as they are, with just 38 percent wanting stricter gun sales in their state. Sixty-six percent of voters in that state also said they do not believe harsher gun laws would curtail future shooting sprees; 60 percent of Virginia voters and 57 percent of Wisconsin voters share that view.

Since polling was being done at the same time as the August 5 shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the results in today's poll would not reflect any possible reaction to that shooting.

Trends across all three states include women being far more likely than men, and Democrats more likely than Republicans, to support stricter gun sales and believe tighter regulations would help prevent future acts of violence. In each state, most voters who live in gun-owning households favor keeping laws on gun sales as they are now.

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Majorities of voters in the three states - 58 percent in Colorado, 52 in Virginia, and 57 in Wisconsin - support a nationwide ban on high-capacity magazines that hold many rounds of ammunition. Those numbers are slightly lower with voters living in a gun-owning household: 45 percent in Colorado, 42 in Virginia, and 47 in Wisconsin.

There is disagreement among voters about whether President Obama and Mitt Romney have adequately addressed the issue of laws on gun sales. In all three states, four in 10 voters think the candidates have spent too little time on the issue, while one in five believe they've spent too much time. A third of voters in the states think they've spent the right amount of time talking about the issue.

Full poll results on next page

This poll was conducted by telephone from Quinnipiac University's interviewing facility July 31-August 6, 2012. The number of likely voters interviewed in each state is 1,463 in Colorado, 1,412 in Virginia and 1,428 in Wisconsin. In all three states, phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the sample in each state could be plus or minus three percentage points in Colorado, Virginia, and in Wisconsin. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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    Sarah Dutton is the CBS News director of surveys.

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