Gun Control Effort Wins Sen. Toomey a Record-High Approval Rating

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 26 2013 11:19 AM

Pat Toomey's Gun Control Consolation Prize: A Record-High Approval Rating

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Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., speaks at the American Enterprise Institute about the national debt.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey got something after all out of the failed Manchin-Toomey gun control compromise: his highest-ever approval rating back home.

According to a new Quinnipiac poll out today, Toomey garnered a 48 percent approval rating among Pennsylvania voters, with 30 percent disapproving of his work in Congress. As for his failed gun control amendment that would have expanded background checks? More than half (54 percent) of Keystone State voters thought more favorably of the senator because of his work on the compromise. Only 12 percent of voters thought less favorably of him because of it.

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Unsurprisingly, voters weren't happy about the Senate's rejection of Manchin-Toomey: Seventy percent were either "angry" or "dissatisfied" with the vote, while 27 percent were "enthusiastic" or "satisfied." The background checks amendment pulled "strong" support from 69 percent of voters in the state, with an additional 16 percent supporting it "somewhat." By comparison, 5 percent were "somewhat opposed," and 7 percent were "strongly opposed" to the amendment. By wide margins, voters agreed that the measure would have closed loopholes that allow gun buyers to avoid background checks, and rejected the argument that the amendment would have unfairly targeted gun enthusiasts.

Overall, however, most voters were unsure of how they felt about Toomey's overall handling of gun control: Thirty-seven percent didn't have a decisive answer, while 34 percent approved. The rest, 29 percent, disapproved.*

The poll's results do indicate that, while supporting the expansion of background checks, Pennsylvania voters doubt such legislation will actually become law. When asked whether they think President Obama will be able to get a background checks law like Manchin-Toomey passed in Congress before he's out of office, 60 percent of voters in the state said no.

Read the full results here.

*Correction: This article misstated the percentage of voters who disapprove of Toomey's overall handling of gun control. The post initially said that number was 27 percent. It is, in fact, 29 percent.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.