That Public Policy Polling survey that offered Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) some discouraging news seems to have gotten into the senator's head.
Earlier this week, PPP found that Flake, on the heels of his support for a Republican filibuster on gun reforms, has become the nation's least popular senator, with support at just 32%. Flake's initial reaction was to blame the pollster, which didn't make any sense.
A day later, the Arizonan was more circumspect, conceding that his standing no doubt deteriorated after his vote against background checks. "It was a popular amendment, and I voted against it," Flake said, adding, "Given the public's dim view of Congress in general, that probably puts me somewhere just below pond scum."
Yesterday, the Republican lawmaker was back to blaming PPP again.
"There was a famous PPP poll just a couple of days ago that -- the five Republicans who voted against this, you know, supposedly our poll number have dropped dramatically," Flake said on KJZZ radio in Arizona. "And I've no doubt they have because of the way the poll is structured."Flake explained: "It said, I believe, 'Do you believe that Jeff Flake voted against background checks?' Now somebody who got that poll could just as easily assume that I voted to repeal current background checks. And so background checks are popular, but I believe that people recognize that universal background checks, that's a little more difficult thing to define."Flake repeated that the poll had mischaracterized his vote later in the interview.
The questions were "structured" in an even-handed way. PPP respondents were asked, "Do you approve or disapprove of Senator Jeff Flake's job performance?" and "Does Jeff Flake's vote against requiring background checks make you more or less likely to support him for re-election, or does it not make a difference?" There's just no slant here, and there certainly wasn't any suggestion that Flake "voted to repeal current background checks," as he complained yesterday.
So what in the world is the senator talking about? Is this Flake's new plan to boost his public support?
There's an old expression: Never let 'em see you sweat. Someone might want to pass this along to the senator.