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Packing Heat at the Polls: Gun Ownership, Interest Group Endorsements, and Voting Behavior in Gubernatorial Elections

NCJ Number
Social Science Quarterly Volume: 79 Issue: 3 Dated: september 1998 Pages: 634-648
James G. Gimpel
Date Published
September 1998
15 pages
This article examines the influence of gun ownership on political behavior in State elections in which the National Rifle Association (NRA) has officially endorsed a candidate and in States where there were no endorsements.
Voter Research and Surveys 1994 Election Day Exit Polls in gubernatorial elections across states indicated that NRA endorsements made little difference. Gun owners were a distinct-issue public, especially in close races and in states with restrictive gun control laws on the books, but these differences appeared to have little to do with NRA involvement. Gun ownership was sufficiently politicized that the additional cue of an interest group endorsement provided no new information. Gun rights forces influenced few elections by relying on endorsements alone. What seemed to matter most in separating gun owners from non-gun owners was not the NRA involvement but the competitiveness of elections. Tables, notes, appendix, references