Poll: Rubio, Ayotte feeling pressure over guns

Poll: Rubio, Ayotte feeling pressure over guns
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE’s (R-Fla.) reelection campaign may be complicated by a new poll that finds gun control has become an increasingly important voting issue in his home state following the Orlando mass shooting.

ADVERTISEMENT
In Florida, three out of four voters, including 68 percent of Republicans, say they are more likely to vote for politicians who support requiring background checks before all gun sales are completed, according to the survey from Public Policy Polling (PPP) that was conducted on behalf of the gun control organization Americans for Responsible Solutions.

Nearly half of Florida voters say they are less inclined to support a politician who opposes expanded background checks, "even if they agree with that candidate on most other issues.”

Rubio, who has consistently opposed background check legislation, has an A-plus rating with the National Rifle Association (NRA). But 69 percent of Florida voters don’t realize this, according to the survey.

Still, Rubio holds a slight 42 percent to 40 percent edge over his Democratic challenger, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), according to the poll.

"A simple informational campaign reminding voters of Rubio’s out-of-touch, anti-common sense positions could do serious damage to [the candidate] leading up to Election Day,” noted PPP, a liberal-leaning organization.

This comes just two months after gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured another 53 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, in what has been labeled the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The PPP survey suggests the shooting could have an impact on Florida voters in November.

“The way we’re talking about this issue resonates with voters,” said Peter Ambler, executive director of Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control organization founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who survived a 2011 mass shooting.

“One thing we know, which is exciting, is that gun violence prevention is at the top of people’s minds,” Ambler added.

The poll also found that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE, who has been vocal in her support for gun control measures, holds a 46 percent to 43 percent lead over Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE in Florida.

The gun control results are more visible in New Hampshire, where Clinton has opened up a 13-point lead over Trump.

In New Hampshire, two out of three voters say they are more inclined to vote for politicians who support expanded background checks, according to PPP. While nearly half say they could see themselves voting against a candidate they otherwise like because of their disagreement with them over guns.

This could trickle down to the Senate race, where Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) currently holds a 47 percent to 42 percent lead over incumbent Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (R).

PPP suggests Hassan’s lead could grow, as nearly six out of 10 voters aren’t familiar with Ayotte’s mixed record on guns.

PPP surveyed 938 registered Florida voters from Aug. 5-7 and the poll has a 3.2 percentage point margin of error. The organization surveyed 802 registered New Hampshire voters during that same period with a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.