For the better part of two years, crime and gun violence have consistently been in the news and on the minds of Americans. Crime or gun violence has consistently ranked as a top concern in the FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos survey. It asked the same 2,000 Americans since late April what they think are the most important issues. In the latest wave, 33 percent of the 1,538 adults who responded named crime or gun violence as a top issue facing the U.S. Only “inflation or increasing costs” has surpassed crime or gun violence. Even before the mass shooting in Uvalde, Tx., that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school, Americans ranked crime or gun violence as the third-most important issue facing the country.
Democrats are more likely to cite it as a problem than either independents or Republicans. In the latest survey, 44 percent of Democrats named it as a top issue for the U.S., compared with 31 percent of independents and 26 percent of Republicans. Democrats have ranked it either first or second in every wave of the poll, while independents have placed it consistently in their top three issues and Republicans in their top six. Different people fixate on different aspects of crime or gun violence. “Looting, stealing, trying to hack computers, always looking to take from others,” said a 77-year old man from New York who identified as a Republican A 37-year old woman from Minnesota who identified as a Democrat focused more on gun violence. “I’m much more afraid of the mass shooting epidemic in this country than of any random acts of crime,” she said. Among those who named crime or gun violence as a top issue, 77 percent picked gun violence as the “bigger issue,” compared with only 21 percent who chose crime.