Poll: About half of Americans disapprove of how Trump handled El Paso and Dayton shootings

Nicholas Wu

WASHINGTON – A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that about half of Americans disapprove of the way President Donald Trump handled recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

The two shootings led to 31 deaths, and the shooter in El Paso left behind a "manifesto" filled with anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The shootings spurred some discussion in Congress on gun control, too – the House Judiciary Committee says that they'll call short their congressional recess and take up bills on gun control on Sept. 4.

Only 36% of Americans polled approved of Trump's handling of the shootings, and 12% responded that they were unsure. The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted by phone from August 10-14 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Trump had faced intense criticism from Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates for not offering more specifics on actions or policies he would use to address mass shootings, or repudiating his own rhetoric that many critics of the president saw as linked to the attacks.

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Fifty-five percent of Americans said they were "very worried" that another shooting or other attack perpetrated by white nationalists would happen.

A majority of Americans also voiced support for various gun control measures asked about in the poll.

  • 89% supported background checks to all firearms sales and transfers.

  • 76% supported "red flag" laws that would allow law enforcement to temporarily restrict access to firearms for those deemed a threat to themselves or the public

  • 75% supported a gun buyback program.

  • 62% supported an assault weapons ban

  • 25% supported a handgun ban

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A sizable proportion of Americans also linked Trump to the violence. Forty percent of Americans thought that Trump's rhetoric on Twitter and his speeches had a "great deal" of responsibility for the shootings.

Forty-three percent of Americans approved of the president's time in office so far, down two percentage points from last month's NBC/WSJ poll.


This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: About half of Americans disapprove of Trump's response to shootings