‘Yes’ votes on background checks prove popular for red-state Dems

Updated
A new poll finds that voters are more likely to re-elect Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana because of her “yes” vote on background checks for gun...
A new poll finds that voters are more likely to re-elect Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana because of her “yes” vote on background checks for gun...
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Surprise! Voting for a bill 70% of voters in your state supports makes your constituents more likely to vote for you.

A new poll found voters are more likely to support Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana because of their “yes” votes on background checks for gun sales.

The survey by Public Polling Policy, a left-leaning polling firm, found that 52% of voters were more likely to re-elect Hagan next year because of her support for expanding background checks. Forty-four percent of voters in Louisiana said they were more likely to re-elect Landrieu in 2014 for her vote. Both are expected to have tough re-election races.

More than 70% of people in both states support background checks. Both senators did see some backlash: 26% and 25% of voters said they were less likely to re-elect Hagan and Landrieu, respectively. Hagan’s overall popularity stayed the same, but Landrieu rose two points in the poll.

Last month, hopes for gun reform evaporated when the Senate rejected a bipartisan bill—proposed by two National Rifle Association A-rated senators—that would have expanded background checks for gun sales. Though national polls found 90% of Americans supported the reforms, the bill ultimately failed in a 54-46 vote, short of the 60 votes needed to pass.

The vote that’s lifting up Democrats Hagan and Landrieu is also sinking their state Republican colleagues: Fifty percent of North Carolina voters are less likely to vote for their Republican Sen. Richard Burr and 40% of Louisiana voters say they’re less likely to vote for their Republican Sen. David Vitter in the future, PPP found.

The senators’ boost in popularity contrasts with the plunging approval ratings of senators across the country who voted against the Senate’s background check bill. A half dozen senators have seen their approval ratings fall following their “no” votes: Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, is now the least-liked senator in office, thanks to his “no” vote.

Elsewhere in Arizona, Republican Sen. John McCain was applauded at a Tucson town hall for his vote and given 19 roses from survivors of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. “Thirteen for the people who were injured, six for the people who died,” survivor Mary Reed said. “We’re just so proud of him for crossing the aisle.”

New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, whose popularity dropped 15 points, was slammed in an emotional town hall in her state by the daughter of the slain principal of Sandy Hook Elementary.

“I am just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn’t as important as that,” daughter Erica Lafferty asked Ayotte. “Why is that not something being supported?”

Constituents continued to demand answers from Ayotte in a town hall Thursday. Watch the video and Morning Joe panel discussion below.

‘Yes’ votes on background checks prove popular for red-state Dems

Updated