By Colby Itkowitz
Call Washingon Bureau
8:14 AM EDT, April 26, 2013
His work on background checks may enable Sen. Pat Toomey to get re-elected.
(That sentence should be read in your best Arlen Specter voice. If that joke is lost on you, watch here.)
Slightly more than 50 percent of Pennsylvania's voters have a more favorable view of Toomey since he signed on as the lead Republican cosponsor on stronger background checks legislation. Only 12 percent have a less favorable opinion now and 32 percent say it doesn't change their views, according to a poll released Friday morning by Quinnipiac University.
Toomey's overall job approval, 48 percent to 30 percent, is at its highest ever in the Quinnipiac surveys. Last month, it was 43 percent to 32 percent. Toomey is up for re-election in 2016, a presidential election year, which are typically more difficult for Republicans in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support Toomey's proposal to expand background checks on firearms sales at gun shows and over the Internet with 69 percent in strong support and 16 percent somewhat supporting it. Additionally, 34 percent of Pennsylvanian voters were "angry" that the Senate voted down the measure and 36 percent were "dissatisfied" with the Senate's vote.
"Pennsylvania voters are dissatisfied, and many are angry, with the U.S. Senate's failure to act on gun-control," Tim Malloy, assistant director of Quinnipiac polling said. "By wide, sometimes overwhelming margins, they still want action.
"Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey gains ground with both parties by calling for stiffer background checks for prospective gun owners," he added.
Many lawmakers who voted against Toomey's background checks amendment to an underlying gun control bill cited the disproportionate calls to their offices telling them to vote "no." Among Pennsylvania voters 81 percent said they have never "called, written or emailed a public official" about gun control.
Close to one in five said they have, which spread across the entire Pennsylvania population would seem like an inundation of calls. The question did not ask if those 19 percent who did reach out did so for or against gun control.
Though supportive, Pennsylvanians are not optimistic that the background checks measure will become law. A show of how iittle faith voters have in Washington, 60 percent say it will never get through Congress while 32 percent say it will.The poll was conducted from April 19 through Wednesday and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent. Quinnipiac surveyed 1,235 registered Pennsylvania voters.