Now There's Evidence Of Daunting Backlash Against Senators Who Voted Down Gun Control

Lisa Murkowski gun controlSen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

Key Senators are continuing to see backlash from their votes against expanding background checks on gun purchases, according to a new

survey released by Public Policy Polling on Monday.The PPP poll focused on five Senators in four states who played a significant role in the vote, which failed to pass through the Senate two weeks ago. All five Senators — Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) — saw huge plunges in their approval ratings after voting “no” on the bill.

Respondents also said they would be less likely to vote for each of the Senators in their next elections. The survey comes days after previous polls showed the approval rating of Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who co-sponsored the background-check legislation, soaring to record highs. 

The findings coincide with a Gallup poll that found 65 per cent of respondents thought the Senate should have passed the legislation. Moreover, 83 per cent said they would have voted to expand background checks on a ballot.

Here are some of the key findings in the PPP poll:

  • Flake has taken the reigns from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as the Senator with the lowest approval ratings in his home state, according to PPP. Just 32 per cent of Arizonans approve of him, compared with 51 per cent who disapprove. And voters say they trust Flake’s Arizona counterpart, John McCain, by a 45-24 margin on gun issues.
  • Murkowski’s net approval rating among Alaskans has plunged 16 points in less than three months. Her approval-to-disapproval rating now stands at 46-41, compared with 54-33 in February.
  • Begich has also seen his net approval rating fall 6 points in his home state, based on significant declines with Democrats and Independents following the vote.
  • Portman’s net approval among Ohio voters has dipped 18 points — though at least some of that is due to a plunge with Republicans after his embrace of gay marriage.
  • Heller has seen a 15-point decline in net approval with Independents in Nevada, the voting bloc that pushed him over the edge in his November election. 

Except for Begich, none of these Senators are up for re-election until at least 2016, and Flake and Heller won’t face voters again until 2018. It remains to be seen if gun issues will continue to resonate that far down the road.

Still, most respondents in the PPP poll — echoing a Fox News poll last week — said they would be much less likely to vote for the Senators again based on their vote.

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