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Government and Politics
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."

Elway Poll: Washington Background Check Measure Retains Healthy Lead

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Augustas Didzgalvis
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According to the latest Elway Poll released Monday, a ballot measure to expand background checks for gun sales in Washington has lost some support, but still enjoys a healthy lead.

Initiative 594 would require background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers in Washington. Currently, only licensed firearms dealers must conduct these checks. In July, the Elway poll had the background check measure enjoying a 70 percent approval rate.

Pollster Stuart Elway said that’s now dropped ten points to 60 percent support.

“I think what’s happening is people are paying more attention to this,” Elway said. “Certainly the ad campaigns have started now so people are kind of sorting out what their position is.”

Meanwhile, Initiative 591, the competing gun rights measure on Washington’s fall ballot, appears to be in trouble. It would prohibit Washington from adopting a background check requirement that goes beyond federal law. Elway now has it polling at 39 percent, down from a high of 55 percent back in April.

There’s an interesting footnote to this poll. More than half of those who say they own a gun also say they plan to vote for the expanded background check measure.