On second thought, maybe Pat Toomey’s not done with gun control

posted at 4:41 pm on April 26, 2013 by Allahpundit

Didn’t this guy tell reporters he was moving on to other issues after the big background-checks flameout last week? What happened?

Senators Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, and Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, have been talking in recent days about how they could persuade more senators to support their bill to expand background checks for gun buyers, which drew backing from only four Republicans last week.

“We’re going to work it hard,” Mr. Manchin said Thursday, adding that he was looking at tweaking the language of his bill in a way that he believed would satisfy senators who, for example, felt that background checks on person-to-person gun sales would be too onerous for people who live in rural areas far from a sporting goods store.

Those concerns were an issue for Alaska’s senators, Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, and Mark Begich, a Democrat.

So, what happened? This happened:

Sen. Pat Toomey’s job rating is at a record high following the Pennsylvania Republican’s sponsorship of legislation to expand gun background checks, according to a poll released Friday.

Pennsylvania voters approved of Toomey’s performance by a margin of 48 percent to 30 percent, up a net 7 points from March, the Quinnipiac University survey reports…

Background checks are supported by 85 percent of Pennsylvania’s voters. More than half, including a majority of Democrats and four in 10 Republicans, said that Toomey’s co-sponsorship of a bipartisan background check bill improved their opinion of him. Just 12 percent said they saw him less favorably.

Background checks are popular generally, and as a Republican from a bluish state (the Mark Pryor problem in reverse) he’s looking for ways to pander to the center. Even if nothing ends up passing, he can’t waste an opportunity to remind Pennsylvanians that he’s working hard on a high-profile issue with bipartisan support. Let’s look closer at the numbers, though. Per Quinnipiac, 54 percent of PA voters think more favorably of him for working on the bill with Manchin versus just 12 percent who don’t, which is what you’d expect to see given that support for expanded background checks usually polls north of 85 percent. But what does that mean in terms of bottom-line job approval?

apr

Compare that to his numbers from March:

mar

The good news for him? He hasn’t lost any Republican support for backing a new gun-control bill, although some undecideds have moved into the disapprove column. He can live with that; the goal here is not to be primaried and he’s on his way towards that goal with 58 percent GOP approval. The bad news? A big chunk of his new support is coming from a 10-point swing among Democrats that’ll surely evaporate as he gets closer to reelection in 2016. He’s up with independents too, which is more significant because it’s potentially more durable, but background-checks alone won’t preserve it. He has to build a more comprehensive reputation for bipartisanship to sell himself as a “reasonable” Republican in his next campaign, which means more compromises to come. How many will Pennsylvania conservatives tolerate before they get restless?

One other X factor here is that the Toomey/Manchin bill failed, of course. What would these numbers have looked like if it had passed? More support for Toomey because he proved he could get something done, or less support among Republicans if/when unintended consequences from the bill started being publicized among conservatives? What if, a year from now, Obama and Biden tried for another round of more aggressive gun control and cited Toomey specifically, and repeatedly, as an example of a Republican who supported “common sense” regulations? Would conservatives hold him responsible for enabling the next wave of slippery-slope gun regs? The whole trick here for Toomey is knowing how far he can go before he risks a backlash on the right. Background checks are probably safe (Kelly Ayotte’s getting hammered in purplish New Hampshire for voting no on Toomey’s bill), but any further and he’s in peril.

Update: Via National Journal, Democrats do have a litmus-test issue for swing-state senators — but, contra Joe Scarborough, it ain’t gun control.

Many progressive activists say Democratic incumbents will face a sterner backlash if they support cutting entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. That’s potentially critical because Obama has already publicly supported a plan for switching to a so-called “chained CPI” for Social Security benefits that could become a centerpiece of a major deficit-reduction deal.

“A vote against our safety net will rate higher than [the gun-control vote],” said Markos Moulitsas, a liberal activist and commentator. “We consider protecting our social net to be a core Democratic issue. If you don’t believe in doing that, I don’t understand why you’d even be a Democrat. And given how popular Social Security and Medicare are, it’s not as if it’s politically courageous to support those programs.”…

“Anyone up in 2014, and really any Democrat period, needs to know, if they do vote to cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits, it’s going to be a clarion call to the entire progressive community,” [Sroka] said. “It will fire up the grassroots base of Democratic Party.”

Think a fiscal conservative like Toomey will be able to hang on to his new Democratic support when entitlement reform finally blows up?


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Never get behind a Rhino: they’re retromingent!

Akzed on April 26, 2013 at 4:44 PM

yeah, well, he’s DONE here in PA……

ToddPA on April 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Bring it, you idiots.

novaculus on April 26, 2013 at 4:46 PM

I refuse to believe the polls… But it brings up an interesting strategy… Is that really how the DNC is Rino’ing the RNCs? By rigging the polls?

Senator… People like it when you do DNC things…

Skywise on April 26, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Let’s see, to get elected, one has to be pro-gun, but pro-gun control, and anti-abortion but in favor of choice, and wanting smaller government but expanding government programs…

Lukewarm…that’s the ticket.

Thought Revelation 3:16 summarized this sort of thing already.

No principles. Nothing upon which one will make a stand. Nothing. Beliefs? Compromise, instead.

No wonder we have sooo screwed ourselves.

“Yes, we can! ‘cept when we can’t.” Makes a great bumper sticker.

coldwarrior on April 26, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Pat Toomey: Must. Get. Re-elected. Must. Stay. Relevant. And. Powerful. FOREVER.

Punchenko on April 26, 2013 at 4:50 PM

This starting to look a lot like the second coming of Obamcare.

DDay on April 26, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Why vote for the likes of Toomey when you can vote for a real Democrat instead?

It’s just a no-brainer. It’s a lay-up. It’s a 2 inch put. Come on.

Curtiss on April 26, 2013 at 4:53 PM

which is what you’d expect to see given that support for expanded background checks usually polls north of 85 percent. But what does that mean in terms of bottom-line job approval?

And what about the polls that said it was only 20%… Which is why the bill failed to begin with?

Skywise on April 26, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Repealing the 17th amendment would cure a lot of ills in Washington.

Punchenko on April 26, 2013 at 4:53 PM

When they get serious about background checks for illegal aliens and drug cartels then come back.

fourdeucer on April 26, 2013 at 4:53 PM

When everybody around you turns into a RINO.

Valkyriepundit on April 26, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Why would Toomey think gun control legislation is gonna pass later this year when it’s rating even lower than 4% in the polls? Is this really about his reelection or is every politician in DC desperately trying to avoid dealing with the economy and the deficit?

Doughboy on April 26, 2013 at 4:55 PM

fourdeucer on April 26, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Something apparently lost on all the Congress critters…

coldwarrior on April 26, 2013 at 4:58 PM

He hasn’t lost any Republican support for backing a new gun-control bill

I beg to differ. I liked him, how does DC change a politician so fast? Just like Rubio and immigration, they say the right things on the stump and do the opposite when they get inside.

Les in NC on April 26, 2013 at 5:01 PM

so let’s see. The gun control bill gets shot down. Liberal pollsters release a biased poll and boom gun control back on agenda.

unseen on April 26, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Toomey can sell out to the Democrats all he wants. He’s toast.

GarandFan on April 26, 2013 at 5:16 PM

I refuse to believe the polls… But it brings up an interesting strategy… Is that really how the DNC is Rino’ing the RNCs? By rigging the polls?

Senator… People like it when you do DNC things…

Skywise on April 26, 2013 at 4:48 PM

yeap they have been doing it for years but like 2008 taught us the MSM was in bed with the DNC/Obama 2012 might yet teach us the pollsters are also in bed with the DNC/Obama.

Hey if people couldn’t figure it ouot after “mitt the only person that could beat Obama” per every “poll” then they might not be able to figure it out.

unseen on April 26, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Considering that there are a lot of Republicans in PA that are Democrats in disguise, for the express purpose of getting elected or getting a committee chairmanship or somehow trying to make some kind of inroad into local or state politics, this doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Toomey just aimed for the Senate (pun intended).

PatriotGal2257 on April 26, 2013 at 5:22 PM

He’ll be smeared in 2016, a presidential election year, all the same. It’ll be inferred and directly stated that he hates women, minorites, and old people. The NRA voter from the western part of the state is his base, you don’t tick off your base.

Having said that, Democrats seem to be desperate to save face with their gun grabbing base and may support a symbolic but toothless bill to do so. Perhaps we can get something in exchange, such as conceal carry permits being recognized in all 50 states.

Daemonocracy on April 26, 2013 at 5:27 PM

OK, if we’re going to have background checks, let’s apply them to voter registration, too. The process for validating gun buyers would serve perfectly for voters. GOP, you listening?

PersonFromPorlock on April 26, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Keep pushing Arlen Toomey

DanMan on April 26, 2013 at 5:28 PM

He may not be done with gun control…but he is definitely done...

katy on April 26, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Poll numbers on UBCs are misleading. First off, Manchin-Toomey wasn’t universal – it exempted most private sales (see: loophole for Lefties to exploit later). Second, I’d be interested in the seeing the poll numbers if the question was posed as such – “in order to ensure universal background checks, are you in favor of a government mandated & regulated database for all firearms purchasers?”

Bottom line – you cannot track a gun without tracking its owner.

Universal Background Checks are a flat out lie.

dugan on April 26, 2013 at 5:55 PM

There’s only one thing you can rely on Dems to do if you’re a Republican ally:

Stab you in the back!

Another Drew on April 26, 2013 at 5:57 PM

PersonFromPorlock on April 26, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Yes, why is it that you are required to present a gov’t issued picture ID to buy a gun, but to ask that of a voter is Racist?

Another Drew on April 26, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Boy, that’s great news for a Senate seat that the GOP only won narrowly in 2010. It’s a good thing that Toomey has siphoned polling approval from Pennsylvania Democrats who will support anyone who’s…against…

Hey, what do you think the odds are that PA Democrats will nominate a strident anti-gun candidate, obviating every speck of theoretical Democratic support? Nah.

HitNRun on April 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM

For those that are interested, please call Arlen Toomey!

484-809-7994

His office is now saying that something will pass and soon.

jjnco73 on April 26, 2013 at 6:25 PM

So Toomey is doing better with dems? So what? Does he actually think any of them will vote for him? And the republicans who think he isn’t sucking as bad, do they vote? Believe me. Many of us who actually voted for him will not be doing so next time around. And since he is clearly a moron, he will never figure out how he lost with such great poll numbers.

I’m voting for “Anyone but Toomey”.

ROCnPhilly on April 26, 2013 at 6:26 PM

The economy is still in the trash, terrorism is making a resurgence, we’re hopelessly in debt and this dipstick is obsessed with gun control. When you are incapable of solving the real problems you muddle around in trivia. God help us because he’s the only one that can.

rplat on April 26, 2013 at 6:31 PM

There is a phrase for this behaviour: STUCK ON STUPID.

Missilengr on April 26, 2013 at 6:39 PM

What happened was a “live boy or a dead girl”, or a Jeb Bush telling him behind the scenes to get with the program.

If people can’t see that the new “bipartisanship” ala Gang of Eight, Ryan/Guttierez, Toomey/Manchin and the like has coincided with the attempted rehabilitation of Bush and with what amounts to an informal declaration for President by Jeb Bush then they’re blind.

sartana on April 26, 2013 at 7:04 PM

These people just never stop trying to destroy our freedoms, do they? Defeated, it doesn’t matter, this crap keeps coming back. They just won’t take “no” for an answer. … and the danged RINOs go along with it.

May he be thoroughly defeated in a primary.

AZfederalist on April 26, 2013 at 7:21 PM

There is no upside for Toomey in this trash. Ask that Masshole Brown, who crossed his base. Toomey can’t afford this politically.

Quartermaster on April 26, 2013 at 7:44 PM

There is a phrase for this behaviour: STUCK ON STUPID.

Missilengr on April 26, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Beat me to it. He’s an idiot.

dominigan on April 26, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Can we please stop sight eh fiction that the extended background checks are popular, even generally?

If they were so damned popular, the bill wouldn’t have been defeated.

catmman on April 26, 2013 at 10:20 PM

If he is so wildly popular with Dems-good for him. They will not cross lines to support him! Meanwhile he has lost his base. I have sent money and supported him in the past. NEVER EVER AGAIN. All this wild support is not from Republicans–poll or no poll!

AnnaS on April 26, 2013 at 10:41 PM

I don’t know that he’s “done” but he sure is losing a lot of enthusiasm in his base. Kinda like Rubio, I suspect.

DocinPA on April 26, 2013 at 11:13 PM

When they get serious about background checks for illegal aliens and drug cartels then come back.

fourdeucer on April 26, 2013 at 4:53 PM

OK, if we’re going to have background checks, let’s apply them to voter registration, too. The process for validating gun buyers would serve perfectly for voters. GOP, you listening?

PersonFromPorlock on April 26, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Being a Progressive means never having to be consistent.

(h/t Another Drew on April 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM)

AesopFan on April 26, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Senators Joe Manchin & Patrick Toomey… talking… about how they could persuade more senators to support their bill… which drew backing from only four Republicans last week.

Dumb and Dumber move
to shoot themselves
in the other foot!

and Americans
in the back!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on April 27, 2013 at 5:33 AM

Let’s be real about him losing any support from “replublicans” in PA over this bill.

A Republican in PA would be a socialist in a lot of places. A Democrat in PA is a communist in the USSR mold. They are also as corrupt as any USSR politiboro and their elections make Afghanistan elections clean and pure in comparison. Even Afghanistan doesn’t have 100% candidate totals and more votes than voters.

However, Toomey has proven his abilility to do whatever it takes to retain his power and authority regardless of what happens to the country or the next generation.

acyl72 on April 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

More than half, including a majority of Democrats and four in 10 Republicans, said that Toomey’s co-sponsorship of a bipartisan background check bill improved their opinion of him. Just 12 percent said they saw him less favorably.

Heh. The “majority of Democraps” approval will net him exactly zero votes. And the four in ten Republicans is netted out against the 12% who will now stay home. Good luck with that, dumbass.

Jaibones on April 27, 2013 at 11:45 AM