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Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords's gun-safety organization launched a two-week ad campaign Wednesday against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, taking them to task for their stance against background checks and other gun legislation. Although Ayotte isn't up for reelection next year, McConnell is.

A Public Policy Poll shows:

Ayotte now has a negative approval rating with 44% of voters giving her good marks and 46% disapproving. That's down a net 15 points from the last time we polled on her, in October, when she had a 48% approval with 35% disapproving. 75% of New Hampshire voters- including 95% of Democrats, 74% of independents, and 56% of Republicans- say they support background checks. And 50% of voters in the state say Ayotte's 'no' vote will make them less likely to support her in a future election, compared to just 23% who consider it to be a positive.
Meanwhile, Mayor Against Illegal Guns, the group funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is pondering whether to undertake a months-long television, radio and direct-mail campaign against Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, one of the four Democrats who voted against expanding background checks to gun shows and internet sales of firearms:
The risk to Democrats is that Bloomberg’s money could weaken Pryor for the general election, tipping the race to the GOP. On the general notion of sending Pryor a message, liberal columnist Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times recently wrote, “It will mean electing someone who is even worse on guns and just about everything else, most likely the Club for Growth's emissary to Arkansas, Tom Cotton."
Fox News is touting its new poll showing that if there were a manhunt like that for the Boston bombers in their city, 69 percent of Americans would want to have a gun in the house.

But the poll also found that 82 percent of voters, including 77 percent in gun-owning households, still favor expanding background checks to private sales. And, more to point, 61 percent say they would be less likely to support a candidate who voted against expanding background checks versus the 23 percent who are more likely to support such a candidate. Sixty-eight percent say they are more likely to support a candidate who voted in favor of expanding background checks.

Depending on how that breaks down at the state level, it's obvious the campaigns of Giffords's group and MAIG could have an impact at the ballot box. But, as Greg Sargent points out:

[T]hese findings don’t go to the intensity question, i.e., how likely it is that this issue will be prioritized over others or whether a candidate’s position on it will ultimately motivate people to organize, lobby or donate money to Senators. But they suggest, again, that expanding background checks remains very popular and that a lawmaker’s vote on it could matter, at least to some degree.
Gun dealers via the National Rifle Association and their Republican marionettes in the Senate defeated the latest efforts to impose reasonable new gun regulations. But these two polls show once again just how far outside the mainstream view on guns the Republican Party is. Transforming the wide gap between how voters view the matter and how policy gets aligned with that view depends not only on making a few senators feel the heat but also on dumping the Senate's super-majority threshold for getting gun legislation passed. Without filibuster reform, firearms reform is a no-go.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 09:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Daily Kos.

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