Sen. Toomey’s Poll Numbers Rise In Wake Of Background Checks Effort

Pat Toomey is seeing some political benefits to his efforts to add a background checks amendment to this Senate gun bill:

Sen. Pat Toomey — the Pennsylvania Republican who helped lead the failed bipartisan background check proposal — has climbed to a record high approval rating in the Keystone State, according to a new poll on Friday.

Toomey has a 48 percent approval, his highest ever, and a 30 percent disapproval, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute showed.

By a 54 percent to 12 percent margin, voters think more favorably of him because he co-sponsored with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) the failed Senate legislation that they say would have improved the federal background check system for firearms.


Sixty-nine percent of Pennsylvania voters strongly support the failed legislation, 16 percent somewhat support it, 5 percent are somewhat opposed and 7 percent are strongly opposed, according to the poll.

Toomey will be up for re-election in 2016, a Presidential election year in a state that has gone for the Democratic President in six successive Presidential elections. While that’s still three years away, these numbers suggest that he has a shot of being in healthy shape by then notwithstanding the fact that conservatives nationally have distanced themselves from him because of the background checks bill.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Congress, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. In this case, it seems that the vast pool of voters willing to punish legislators for supporting minor and easily accomplished gun control measures is more of a puddle.

  2. Moosebreath says:

    In the paragraph Doug cut, it is noted the partisan split among the different parties, which suggests that Toomey could have opened up room to be primaried on this issue, as Republicans split 33-33 on it.

  3. legion says:

    Entertainingly, it’s not just Republicans who are feeling backlash for blatantly whoring themselves to the gun lobby in open defiance of overwhelming voter opinion…

  4. stonetools says:

    Isn’t the corollary to voters rewarding Republicans for supporting gun safety reform, voters punishing Republicans for opposing gun safety reform?

  5. dennis says:


    Another corollary, stonetools, is the one that shows Sen. Toomey’s numbers rise a day or so after he lambastes the President for the gun bill’s failure. Hmm . . .

  6. @dennis: Hmmm….while that does seem to correlate, I’m not sure this kind of thing has any causative effect:

    “I would suggest the administration brought this on themselves,” Toomey said in an interview with The Morning Call. “I think the president ran his re-election campaign in a divisive way. He divided Americans. He was using resentment of some Americans toward others to generate support for himself. That was very divisive, that has consequences, that lingers.”

    Calling an election “divisive” is like calling water wet.

    Also, Toomey’s complaint is “using resentment of some Americans toward others to generate support for himself,” but he’s directing it at Obama and not Mitt “47%” Romney???

    Not only do I think that’s ridiculous, it’s too cliched, too rote, too predictable that it probably didn’t influence polls one way or the other.

  7. dennis says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    Maybe so, JP; but, after the last five years, I don’t underestimate The Crazy as much as I used to. And I do admit to being a bit snarky in my comment.

  8. Caj says:

    I’m not surprised his poll numbers have risen. He had the guts to do what was right. Unlike his fellow gutless Republicans and four gutless Democrats! All of those who voted against the bill will pay the price and so they should. A poke in the eye to those precious slaughtered children, their brave teachers and the parents who grieve for them all still. Plus countless others over the years that didn’t have the luxury to fulfill their dreams due to senseless gun violence! Guns rights over people’s rights! That in itself is a sheer disgrace!