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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Poll Finds Washington Gun Rights Initiative Losing Support

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A new Elway Poll out Tuesday shows support for a gun rights measure on Washington’s fall ballot is flagging. Meanwhile, a dueling measure that would expand background checks remains popular.

The poll represents a major shift since April: a nine-point drop in support for Initiative 591, the measure that says Washington can’t adopt a stricter gun background check than the feds. At the same time, Initiative 594, measure would expand background checks to include person-to-person gun sales in Washington, continues to enjoy a 70-percent approval rating.

Longtime pollster Stuart Elway thinks the numbers show voters are figuring out what each measure would actually do.

“What it looks to me like is people are now voting more in accordance with their intention which is to implement more extensive background checks,” he said.

Elway felt confident saying that because his polling has generally found Washington voters favor more extensive background checks by a margin of 2 to 1. Still, Elway noted the gun control issue still splits sharply along partisan lines.

The Elway poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percent.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."