by Jim Nintzel
Sen. Jeff Flake has seen his approval numbers plummet in the wake of his vote against legislation that would have required background on firearm sales at gun shows, online marketplaces and other advertised transactions, according to a new poll released today.
Public Policy Polling released a survey today that shows:
After just 3 months in office Jeff Flake has already become one of the most unpopular Senators in the country. Just 32% of voters approve of him to 51% who disapprove and that -19 net approval rating makes him the most unpopular sitting Senator we've polled on, taking that label from Mitch McConnell.
70% of Arizona voters support background checks to only 26% who are opposed to them. That includes 92/6 favor from Democrats, 71/24 from independents, and 50/44 from Republicans. 52% of voters say they're less likely to support Flake in a future election because of this vote, compared to only 19% who say they're more likely to. Additionally voters say by a 21 point margin, 45/24, that they trust senior colleague John McCain more than Flake when it comes to gun issues.
Flake's press secretary, Genevieve Rozansky, suggested that Public Policy Polling's surveys were less than trustworthy.
"If early PPP polls were accurate, Senator Flake wouldn't be in office right now," Rozansky said via email.
Flake has done something of a dance on the question of background checks. He generally tells the press and public that he supports strengthening the background-check system, but his support is for changing laws to place more mentally ill people who pose a danger to themselves or others on the list.
Earlier this month, he voted against the Manchin-Toomey amendment that would have extended background checks to sales at gun shows and on the Internet (as well as any other advertised transactions). In an interview before the vote, he said the proposal would have created too much paperwork.
In the wake of that vote, he got particular criticism for sending a handwritten letter to the mother of a young man killed in the Colorado movie-theater massacre saying that "While we may not agree on every solution, strengthening background checks is something we agree on."