A couple weeks ago, a political reporter in Arizona received an interesting phone call. It was a survey, among other things, about a hypothetical initiative to put mandatory background checks for gun sales on the 2014 state ballot.
The reporter worked for the Arizona News Service, a news outlet the publishes a political tip sheet called the Yellow Sheet Report. The survey soon became an item in it.
According to the Yellow Sheet Report, the poll surveyed the favorability of a range of new gun restrictions, including background checks for all gun sales (online, gun shows, and in person) as well as favorability for jail time for people who violated the background check requirement, and support for a national gun registry.
Notably, the poll looked at the favorability of two prominent pro-gun control groups, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group run by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband, Mark Kelly.
It’s not clear who had commissioned the poll, but the fact that the survey specifically checked the favorability of the two groups indicated to the Yellow Sheet Report that both of those groups was testing the waters for a major gun control ballot initiative in 2014.
On Monday, however, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg’s group flatly denied to TPM that the poll was commissioned by them.
“No polling in AZ for 2014 ballot that I am aware of,” spokeswoman Erika Soto Lamb wrote in an email. “I need to call that guy in AZ to tell him he has it wrong.”
But Pia Carusone, executive director of Americans for Responsible Solutions, was less direct. She declined to say whether the poll came from her group.
“We never comment on research or strategy,” Carusone said in an email, “but we’ll make sure you’re one of the first to know if and when we discuss potential BI’s around the country.”