Pat Toomey gets a background check poll bump

Though the bill failed, a new poll shows Toomey with his highest approval rating since taking office

Published April 26, 2013 1:24PM (EDT)

Though the Senate blocked legislation to expand gun background checks, Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who pushed for the measure, is still getting credit for trying. A new Quinnipiac poll shows Toomey with his highest approval ratings in Pennsylvania since he took office.

From the poll:

Pennsylvania voters approve 34 - 29 percent of the way U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is handling gun control and give Sen. Toomey an overall 48 - 30 percent approval rating, his highest ever. By a 54 - 12 percent margin, voters think more favorably of Toomey because of his co-sponsorship of legislation to require expanded background checks.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., on the other hand, is suffering, in part because of her vote against background checks. A poll earlier this week from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling showed Ayotte's approval rating tank by 15 points since October.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports, some Senators are quietly working to try again on gun control. From the Times:

Drawing on the lessons from battles in the 1980s and ’90s over the Brady Bill, which failed in Congress several times before ultimately passing, gun control supporters believe they can prevail by working on a two-pronged strategy. First, they are identifying senators who might be willing to change their votes and support a background check system with fewer loopholes.

Second, they are looking to build a national campaign that would better harness overwhelming public support for universal background checks — which many national polls put at near 90 percent approval — to pressure lawmakers.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Background Checks Gun Control Joe Manchin Pat Toomey Pennsylvania