PPP says that Hagan’s vote for background checks means that voters are more likely to support her in her 2014 reelection bid. They find similar results for Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu.
The poll finds that North Carolinians overwhelmingly support background checks. Even Republicans support them by a 61/34 margin. So why do congressional Republicans continue to vote against them? It could be, as Carter Wrenn writes, that Republican voters have more common sense than their legislators give them credit for. Or it could be that the safest thing for a Republican to do these days is to go as far to the right as possible, or risk provoking the anger of their base.
Republican intransigence on guns, though, could imperil the party in 2014. Suburban women in particular overwhelmingly support background checks, and it’s likely that suburban women will end up deciding the victor in next year’s Senate race.
PPP also finds that Hagan’s approval rating is only 37/36. Burr’s approval rating, however, is only 28/42 – his worst approval rating in many years, I believe. Burr voted to pass the background checks bill in committee (angering conservatives), then voted against background checks when it reached the floor (angering moderates). The debate over guns has had more of an effect on Burr’s standing than on Hagan’s.
It’s possible that this issue will no longer be a pertinent issue by the time November 2014 rolls around. But if it is, then candidates like Thom Tillis will have to make a choice: which group of voters would you rather anger? Moderates in the suburbs, or the Republican base? Which group is more likely to extremely motivated by the issue of guns? And which group is more important to winning the Senate race in 2014?
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.