TODAY   |  April 11, 2013

55 percent want tougher gun laws, poll finds

According to a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, 55 percent of Americans want stricter gun control, a decrease from the month immediately following Newtown. Opinion is starkly divided along party lines. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> is nbc's political director and chief white house correspondent. chuck, good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt.

>> let's talk about the general numbers on gun control . right now according to our polling, 55% of americans want stricter laws. that's down from 61% three months ago right after the newtown shooting. but the real story is in the next numbers. look at the political divide. according to our nbc news " wall street journal " poll, 82% of democrats support tougher gun laws , only 27% of republicans, how are the democrats going to bridge that gap?

>> well, and i would put -- you can use those percentages to say gun laws have about an 82% chance of getting through the senate and about a 27% chance of getting through the republican house. i mean, i think that polarization is what makes this so difficult you can't figure out what the end game is here. yes, getting a conservative republican like pat toomey onboard is important, but i want to highlight another number that might convince some republicans to do this. look at the massive gender gap . it's as large as we've seen on any issue when it comes to stricter gun laws . 65% of women want stricter gun laws , 44% of men. if you make the argument to republicans, you had a problem with women voters in 2012 , it's why you didn't win the presidency, if you want to continue to have problems with women voters, don't deal with this gun issue. if you want to try to women over suburban women, tackle it.

>> let's turn to immigration reform . starting a campaign called immigration nation. we'll be talking about this issue on all of our broadcasts. our poll shows a growing trend in favor of general immigration over the years. 2005 , it was 41% in favor, 2010 , 47%, now 54%, a strong move in the direction of immigration acceptance. what's driving it?

>> well, what's remarkable about it, you see this move in that direction at a time of economic anxiety in the past when the economy was in a bad place for many americans like it is today. the idea of immigration actually becomes unpopular because there's this fear they're going to take away jobs. but the other interesting part of our poll, you see the path to how this gets done. we asked about the idea, the big sticking point is the path to citizenship. and there is a little bit of a polarizing divide there while a large majority are in favor of the path to citizenship, for those folks here illegally, a majority of republicans do not want it. but when you tell folks that there will be penalties for these people that are here illegally, they'll have to pay a fine, they'll have to learn english, and then there is a path to citizenship, then even republican support grows. bottom line, matt, there's a path to get this done. the politics of the country is not going to get in the way. the only way it doesn't happen is if the politics of washington gets in the way.

>> chuck todd in washington this morning where he should know, thank you very much.