We talked last week about two Republican senators from blue-ish states whose support is moving in opposite directions. On the one hand, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who championed a bipartisan compromise on gun reforms, has seen his approval rating reach new heights. On the other, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has seen her support back home drop sharply.
It turns out these two aren’t the only senators seeing real shifts in their popularity among their constituents.
Public Policy Polling has a new report this morning, gauging the approval ratings of Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Begich (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Dean Heller (R-Nevada). The one thing they all have in common: their support has fallen in the wake of their opposition to gun reforms.
There is a fair amount of variety in the results, with voters in some states reacting with greater intensity than others. Flake, for example, has suddenly found himself as one of the nation’s least popular senators, with an approval rating of just 32%. In Alaska, both senators opposed the gun bill and both saw their support drop quite a bit, though supporters still outnumber critics.
Nevada’s Heller only lost a few points off his approval rating, but among self-identified independents, his support has dropped from 52% to 42%.
That said, of all the polls from the last week, the only senator who saw an increase in support was Toomey – and he co-sponsored the measure to expand background checks. PPP’s analysis concluded, “Taken together these results make it pretty clear that this issue could be a serious liability for the Senators who opposed overwhelmingly popular background checks in the Senate vote earlier this month.”
Keep this in mind as efforts to resuscitate the legislation continue.