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A quick refresher on the saga of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake: Despite telling the mother of an Aurora shooting victim that he supported expanded background checks, he voted against them in the Senate. When his poll numbers fell, he attacked the accuracy of Public Policy Polling, the firm that conducted the survey—even though in 2012 they accurately showed he was the leading candidate for U.S. Senate. Then he admitted that the poll was accurate and that he wasn't pleased with becoming the least popular senator in America. And now he's come full circle, accusing PPP of structuring the survey to make him look bad:
"There was a famous PPP poll just a couple of days ago that -- the five Republicans who voted against this, you know, supposedly our poll number have dropped dramatically," Flake said on KJZZ radio in Arizona. "And I've no doubt they have because of the way the poll is structured."
Flake explained: "It said, I believe, 'Do you believe that Jeff Flake voted against background checks?' Now somebody who got that poll could just as easily assume that I voted to repeal current background checks. And so background checks are popular, but I believe that people recognize that universal background checks, that's a little more difficult thing to define."
Flake couldn't be more wrong. The poll wasn't of five Republicans—it also included a Democrat—and Flake has the question wrong. The question was this:
Does Jeff Flake's vote against requiring background checks make you more or less likely to support him for re-election, or does it not make a difference?
The answer was this:
More likely: 19% Less likely: 52% No difference/unsure: 28%
The reality is that poll after poll after poll after poll after poll has shown voters of every partisan and ideological stripe believe expanding background checks was a good idea. Towing the NRA line was a big mistake, but refusing to admit that obvious fact will ultimately be Flake's biggest miscalculation.
Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu May 02, 2013 at 11:30 AM PDT.