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Well as everyone expected, the whole “vote against the Manchin-Toomey bill that required universal background checks on all firearm purchases thing” does not appear to be a good idea, according to some new polls released by Public Policy Polling.

PPP tested Senators from Alaska, Arizona, Nevada and Ohio to gauge how popular/unpopular the votes on the widely discussed bill were.  Here are some snippets:


  • Jeff Flake of Arizona is the most unpopular Senator in the country thus far.  He stands at 32% favorable, 51% unfavorable with 52% of voters calling themselves “less likely” to vote for the three month incumbent following his gun vote.
  • His fellow Republican Senator from Arizona, John McCain, fares much better on the gun debate.  Arizonians trust McCain more by a margin of 45/24 on the topic of guns, compared to Flake.  McCain was one of only four Republicans to vote “yes” on the bill.

What Does That Mean?:

Well credit to Jeff Flake.  It is very rare when a first-term Senator, let alone one who was sworn-in at the end of January, has this much name recognition in his home state.  Now, he has plenty of time to change his ratings but I bet his widely circulated comments on his vote (“that’s the beauty of a six-year term”) probably left a sour taste in people’s mouths.

70% of Arizonians support background checks.


  • Republican Lisa Murkowski at one point was one of the most popular Senators in the country but now she has seen a decline in her numbers with 46% approval, 41% disapproval (down from 54/33).  She is now at 44% favorable, 44% unfavorable amongst Democrats and 51% favorable, 38% unfavorable amongst Republicans.
  • Democrat Mark Begich, who is set to be in a hotly contested race in 2014, has also seen his numbers decline.  Now he’s only popular at a 41% favorable, 37% unfavorable rating (down from 49/39 in February) though his support amongst Republicans (24%) hasn’t ebbed an inch while his support from Democrats has.

What Does That Mean?:

Well, Murkowski’s image as a moderate Senator seems to have been tarnished from her “no” vote on Manchin-Toomey.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see her soon announce that she supports marriage equality to balance out her vote and regain some traction.

Begich is a different story.  He has been pro-NRA since joining the Senate but this is the first vote where it was prevalent.  I think he still is in decent shape for 2014 but each Democrat that stays home in Alaska will hurt him more and more.

60% of Alaskans support background checks.


  • Dean Heller, appointed in 2011 to replace the embattled John Ensign currently has a 44% favorable, 41% unfavorable rating in Nevada.  Heller took the biggest hit amongst independents who only see him at a 42/42 rating.  Heller, back in February, stood at 52/37 with indies.

What Does That Mean?:

See Murkowski, another perceived “moderate” has taken a hit from a “no” vote.  In Nevada, background checks are supported by 70% of the voters with only 24% in opposition.  That includes 87% of Democrats, 65% of independents and yes 54% of Republicans.

But at least Heller, for his sake, has five more years in office.


  • After consideration to be Mitt Romney’s VP, Rob Portman’s had was favored 35% approval, 25% disapproval by Ohioan voters.  Now, after a “No” vote, Portman stands at 26/34 though I wonder how much of that comes from his words regarding marriage equality.

What Does That Mean?:

Well Portman is still, somehow, unknown to many Ohioan voters.  He was at one point the potential frontrunner to be a vice presidential nominee and was the first Republican to sound “moderate” regarding marriage but still, no one knows him.  If he has any presidential ambitions, which I doubt, then he has to probably get a personality transplant.

72% of Ohioans, for the record, support background checks.

But as we have seen, most American voters do not see eye-to-eye with the NRA even though almost half of the Senators serving today do.  The cowardice of these Senators have hurt them hard and with each act of violence will continue to suffer.  There will probably be another vote on this topic before any of these candidates are up for re-election, but the damage may have been done.

Let that be a warning to many politicians currently serving, the people still go to the ballots; not special interest groups.