Elections

Elway Poll finds 60 percent still support I-594 background checks expansion, rival I-591 failing

The latest Elway Poll show support for Initiative 594 has slipped – but 60 percent of Washington voters still favor its expansion of gun background checks.

At the same time, support for rival Initiative 591, which seeks to bar background checks tougher than the federal standard, dropped further into negative territory with just 39 percent in favor, according to pollster Stuart Elway.

A similar poll in July found that 70 percent of voters supported I-594 while 46 percent were inclined to vote for I-591.

The new poll comes at a time money continues to pour into the background-checks campaign. Ballots are going in the mail this week.

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group announced last week it was pledging another $1 million to I-594’s political committee, which makes Everytown the largest donor at $2 million.

As of Monday, Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility had collected more than $7.9 million – not counting the latest Everytown donation – and spent $2.8 million.

Other major donors are from the Seattle-area’s wealthy class – including $1.49 million from venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and his wife Lenore, $1.08 million from Steve and Connie Ballmer, $1.05 million from Bill and Melinda Gates.

On the other side, Protect Our Gun Rights has raised $1.16 million in just over 1,000 donations in support of I-591. More than $500,000 came from the Washington Arms Collectors group.

Another group, Washington Citizens Against Regulatory Excess, has raised $103,928 in opposition to I-594. The NRA has also given $191,997 to its in-state PAC opposing I-594.

The state’s two major political parties are split on the measures – with Democrats in favor of expanded background checks and Republicans opposed and favoring I-591.

But I-594 announced Monday that former Republican governor Dan Evans and his wife Nancy support expanding background checks.

Elway said it appears voter opinion is settling, because responses about I-594 are lining up with a separate question about whether voters want to expand background checks or keep them the same. On that question, 59 percent favored more extensive checks, while 33 percent wanted to keep them as is.

The poll also found that “just 22 percent said they were inclined to vote for both initiatives, down from 32 percent in July and 40 percent in April.”

A potential ray of hope for I-594 opponents is that Elway found those paying “close attention” to the election were less likely to support the measure than those paying less attention.

Elway’s polling was done Oct. 6-9 and had a margin of error of 4.5 percent. It queried 500 voters.

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