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"Pond Scum"

May 02, 2013 10:50 am ET
This week, senators who voted against requiring background checks for gun buyers have been in their home states to face their constituents -- including angry and upset voters in town hall meetings. New polls show that the backlash, in the form of plummeting approval ratings, runs even deeper. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) nailed the reason when he admitted that voting no made him less popular than "pond scum." Keep the heat on lawmakers for these shameful votes and hold them accountable.

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CORE MESSAGE

Voting to allow criminals to buy guns is not just a moral mistake. It's a political mistake.

Connect: Politicians should fear angering the people they represent, not the lobbyists.

Define: Americans have had it with one gun violence tragedy after another and politicians who are too cowardly and corrupt to stop it.

Illustrate: This week, senators who voted against requiring background checks for gun buyers are facing angry constituents in town halls. Sen. Flake even admitted that his no vote made him less popular than "pond scum."

Expose: That's what they get for siding with the gun industry lobbyists over the families of gun violence victims, law-abiding gun owners, and the rest of their own constituents -- who all agree that we must keep guns out of dangerous hands. 

Discredit: The myth of the invincible gun lobby should have ended last November, when 95% of the money NRA lobbyists spent on federal elections went to candidates voters rejected. Their electoral impotence may surprise some, but politicians who don't learn this lesson now will learn it the next time they face voters.

Call to action: Criminals shooting cops, dangerously mentally ill people gunning down kids, terrorists buying firearms through the Internet -- it doesn't have to be this way just because some politicians refuse to do the right thing. And the voters know it.


NEW POLLING YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • In Alaska, where 60% of voters support background checks, both senators' approval ratings dropped after they voted down the legislation. Sen. Murkowski's popularity dropped 16 points.
  • In Arizona, where 70% of voters support background checks, the majority of voters now say they're less likely to support Sen. Flake in a future election because of his "no" vote. In contrast, voters say by about a 20-point margin that they trust Sen. McCain, who supported the bill, more on gun issues than Sen. Flake.
  • In Louisiana, where over 70% of voters support background checks, just 25% of voters say they're more likely to vote for Sen. Vitter in the future based on his vote on this bill, compared to over 40% of voters say they're less likely to vote for him.
  • In Nevada, where 70% of voters support background checks, almost twice as many of Sen. Heller's supporters now say they're less likely to support him for reelection.
  • In North Carolina, where nearly 75% of voters support background checks, half the people say they're less likely to vote for Sen. Burr in the future because of his opposition to background checks.
  • In Ohio, where over 70% of voters support background checks, voters say by a 17-point margin say they're less likely to support Sen. Portman the next time he's up for reelection. He has also seen his popularity drop across the board with Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters.
  • In contrast, in Pennsylvania, where background checks are supported by 85% of residents, Sen. Pat Toomey saw his job ratings soar to a record high after he co-authored the legislation to require background checks for commercial gun sales.
 
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. 
See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


 


Posted in - Guns - Crime

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