Rubio's approval rating in Florida tanks after CNN anti-gun town hall, now lower than Trump's

Via Rachel Stoltzfoos at the Federalist, who notes that Rick Scott’s job approval is a comparatively healthy 49/40 in the state despite the fact that he and Rubio are members of the same party. Why the hate for Marco but not Scott? Could it be because … one showed up to the CNN town hall with the Stoneman Douglas students last week to be the object of the Two Minutes Hate while the other dodged?

I think Rubio did the right thing by attending and facing his constituents. If you can’t defend your principles when they’re unpopular then your principles aren’t worth much. But there’s little question that my friend was right and I was wrong on the question of whether it was smarter politically for Republican pols to accept the invite or to run and hide. In fairness to Rubio, although the town hall was straightforwardly advertised as an advocacy event (“Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action”), he may have believed — as I did — that having Jake Tapper as moderator might lead to some civility and restraint instead of a hooting lynch mob. Instead he had to stand there and listen politely when one of the students compared him to the degenerate who shot up the school while Dana Loesch reportedly needed security to exit the building safely. He, and I, made a serious error in judgment in thinking Tapper’s presence might elevate the discourse.

Neither one of us will make that error again, I’m sure.

That’s Rubio today in Quinnipiac’s poll of Florida. Their last poll of his job approval within the state came in July 2016, a few months before he was reelected comfortably:

His disapproval among Democrats and independents is up double digits in the past 18 months or so. Can’t automatically attribute all of that to his stance on guns, of course, but Rubio’s kept a relatively low profile in the Senate since his big win in November 2016, particularly on immigration. The most memorable legislative fight he’s had since January 2017 is, I believe, his push for a somewhat larger child tax credit in the GOP’s tax cuts bill last fall. He’s clearly trying to shift away from cultural hot-button issues like guns and build a public image as a “middle” politician — pro-middle-class and pro-middle-ground, at least tonally:

But the Parkland massacre and the CNN lynch mob sucked him right back into the culture wars to the point where his job approval back home is now several points lower than Trump’s. (He won his Senate race with a higher percentage of the vote than Trump did in Florida in 2016 *and* with 200,000+ more votes statewide.) The fact that he was conciliatory at the CNN event on some new gun-control regulations, possibly up to and including banning large-capacity magazines, seems not to matter. Having had his presidential ambitions badly damaged on the right by becoming the face of Republican amnesty efforts, he may now have had them badly damaged on the left by becoming the face, however unwittingly, of Republican pro-gun efforts. Quinnipiac is out with a second poll of Florida today and finds heavy support for various new gun regulations, including 62/33 in favor of an “assault weapons” ban and 53/42 in favor of a ban on all semiautomatic rifles. He was the designated villain at the CNN event and he’s paying the price in his own numbers.

As for CNN, it’s full speed ahead on issue advocacy. Via Ben Shapiro:

Exit question: Are schools more or less safe than they were 25 years ago? The answer may surprise you.