Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) may need to amend his vote on background checks for gun buyers if he hopes to survive what’s expected to be a tough re-election bid next year, according to numbers released Wednesday by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling.
PPP found that Pryor could help himself politically in 2014 if he opts to vote in favor of expanded background checks in the future. Forty percent of Arkansas voters said such a vote would make them more likely to back Pryor while 34 percent said that voting in favor of background checks would make them less likely to support him. Tellingly, only 21 percent of voters said that Pryor’s vote wouldn’t make any difference at all. And 60 percent of Arkansas voters said they support background checks for all firearms sales, including sales at gun shows and on the Internet.Pryor’s “no” vote last month on legislation that would have forced background checks at gun shows and in internet sales drew the ire of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Michael Bloomberg-led outfit that has emerged as the leading advocate for new gun laws. The group launched an ad last week that featured a friend of Bill Gwatney, who was shot and killed in 2008 while serving as chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party.
Pryor pushed back hard against the ad, calling it “disgusting” while accusing Bloomberg of politicizing Gwatney’s death.
The poll, PPP’s latest installment in its ongoing effort to gauge the fallout from the failed Senate gun legislation, also found GOP incumbents in two other red states taking heat for their votes.
Seventy-one percent of Georgia voters back background checks, and voters there are not pleased with the opposition from their GOP senators. Nearly half of Georgia voters said that his opposition to background checks makes them less likely to support Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) — a moot point given that he will not seek re-election next year. A similar number of voters — 44 percent — said they are now less likely to back Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who will not face re-election until 2016.
In Tennessee, where 67 percent of voters said they favor an expansion of background checks, pluralities said they are less likely to support Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN) after the two voted against the measure. Alexander is up for re-election next year.