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Poll: Voters in the ‘Gunshine State’ want tougher gun laws, and Hillary

Florida voters support universal background checks for gun purchases, other gun control laws and Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

The poll, released Thursday, found that 91 percent of Florida voters support universal background checks for all gun purchases.

“The idea of requiring background checks on those who want to buy guns has overwhelming support, 91 - 8 percent, in a country where getting a majority to agree on anything is often difficult,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Floridians also support Hillary Clinton more than their homegrown political stars, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush. In a head-to-head matchup, Clinton leads Bush 51 to 40 percent and outpolls Rubio 52 to 41 percent.

By a 51-44 percent margin, Florida voters support stricter gun control laws in the state, with majorities of voters backing an assault weapons ban and a ban on high capacity magazines.

Florida’s results track many of the results found by pollsters in other states, despite the fact that the Sunshine State is one of the most gun-friendly in the country. In December, Florida surpassed 1 million concealed carry permits, a number that leads the nation.

Those who own guns have very different opinions about gun control, with 61 percent opposed to stricter gun laws and 57 percent opposing an assault weapons ban. Still, gun owners support universal background checks by an 88-11 percent margin. The Florida Legislature has mostly avoided the gun debate this year, as several gun control bills have languished after being filed. 

Below are a few more results from the poll:

-- 56 - 41 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, with gun- owners opposed 57 - 41 percent;

-- 53 - 43 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds, with gun-owners opposed 56 - 40 percent;

-- 59 - 36 percent support placing armed police officers in schools;

-- 57 - 33 percent that gun ownership in Florida does more to protect people from crime than to put them at risk;

-- 60 - 31 percent say allowing people to own assault weapons makes the country more dangerous rather than safer, with gun owners divided 44 - 44 percent;

-- President Barack Obama better reflects their views on guns, 44 percent of Florida voters say, while 45 percent say the National Rifle Association better reflects their views. 

The poll found that Clinton is viewed favorably by 62 percent of voters, compared to 50 percent for Bush and 41 percent for Rubio.

President Obama’s approval rating is at 50 percent among Florida voters. 

The poll sampled 1,000 registered voters in Florida from March 13-18, 2013.