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The NRA is now a political liability
PPP's latest surveys, conducted April 29-May 1 in Louisiana and North Carolina, show that Democratic senators Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan are both receiving positive marks from voters for their votes in favor of expanding background checks for gun purchases. The numbers:
In Louisiana 72% of voters say they favor background checks to only 20% who are opposed. There is strong bipartisan backing with Democrats (81/13), independents (73/20), and Republicans (61/29) all expressing at least 2:1 support. 45% of voters in the state say they're now more likely to support Landrieu for reelection because she voted for background checks, compared to only 25% who say they're now less likely to vote for her. Landrieu has also seen a 6 point improvement in her net approval rating from the last time we polled the state in February, from +2 then at 47/45 to now +8 at 49/41.

It's a similar story in North Carolina. There 73% of voters support background checks with only 22% opposed. Again there is a strong consensus across party lines with more than 60% of Democrats (86/11), independents (67/28), and Republicans (61/34) all supporting them.  52% of voters say they're more inclined to reelect Hagan next year because she voted for background checks, while only 26% of voters say they will be less likely to support her because of it.

Not only are Landrieu and Hagan up, but their Republican counterparts are down. Republican senators David Vitter and Richard Burr both have lower approval ratings than Landrieu and Hagan, and both receive low marks for the opposition to background checks.
Hagan and Landrieu are both faring a lot better on this issue than their Republican colleagues in these states. 50% of North Carolinians say they're less likely to vote for Richard Burr in the future because of his opposition to background checks, compared to only 26% who consider his vote to be a positive. And in Louisiana 41% of voters say they're less likely to vote for David Vitter in the future based on his vote on this bill, compared to just 25% more likely to.
These numbers are just the latest evidence that the conventional wisdom about the dangers of crossing swords with the NRA is wrong. Poll after poll after poll after poll has shown that senators who supported gun safety legislation have gained because of it, and senators who opposed it have dropped. There was once a time when the NRA was a more mainstream organization, but it is now as extreme as the tea party.

There's been some talk about the possibility of background check legislation coming up for a vote again. With all the survey data showing that expanding background check legislation is a huge political winner, there's no doubt that a lot of senators would change their vote. In fact, they'd probably see a second chance to vote on the issue as a big favor. Proponents of revisiting the legislation should keep that in mind: They are the ones doing a favor for previous opponents. The thing they are putting on the table is a political get of jail free card. In other words, they don't need to water down their legislation—the politics are what will change votes.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu May 02, 2013 at 08:15 AM PDT.

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

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