Gun Debate
3:10 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Poll Shows Toomey's More Popular Than Ever

If anyone is still asking whether Republican Pat Toomey did any damage to his reputation, a new survey puts the question to bed: Nope.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows the state’s junior U.S. senator has emerged from his foray into the gun control debate with his highest ever approval rating.

Toomey’s score jumped to 48 percent – up by five points in the past month. Thirty percent of voters surveyed said they disapprove of the job he’s doing.

The poll started just two days after the failure of Toomey’s controversial amendment to expand background checks on gun purchases online and at gun shows. It didn’t muster the votes it needed to overcome a filibuster.

At the time, the senator was still receiving criticism from members of his base. But Franklin & Marshall College pollster and political scientist Terry Madonna said if it’s re-election he’s worried about, Toomey shouldn’t fear losing conservative voters.

“His bigger problem is winning independent-minded voters in the Philadelphia suburbs and the Lehigh Valley," Madonna said. “And also, by the way, in the Harrisburg suburbs.”

Madonna said even during the height of the blowback against Toomey’s amendment, speculation about the ramifications of angering conservative voters came with a big “but.”

“The ‘but’ is the whole point," Madonna said. “The fact is that 94 percent of the voters of the state in (a Franklin & Marshall College) February poll support universal background checks for all gun sales – all gun sales. And Toomey’s proposal mirrors Pennsylvania law almost to the line.”

Madonna noted the commonwealth’s gun law was approved by a Republican legislature, Republican governor and had the support of the National Rifle Association.