Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
In just three short months in the U.S. Senate, our boy Jeff Flake has managed to dethrone the Septegenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell, as the most disliked senator among Americans. Getting caught lying to a grieving mother who lost her son to gun violence will do that. The Atlantic Wire reports, How Jeff Flake Became the Most Unpopular Senator in America:
Public Policy Polling, in their latest survey on the fallout of the recent vote on gun legislation, explains just how much people don't like Mr. Flake:
Since December, it was hard to imagine anyone unseating McConnell because, according to PPP and despite the Kentucky Senator's internal numbers, the Senate Minority Leader was always' the old curmudgeon who represented the laughable state of America's hatred toward Congress.
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So what happened to the junior Senator from Arizona? According to PPP's polling, conducted April 25-26 in the aftermath of the gun vote that killed legislation on background checks, it's blowback — Democrats and independent voters have really flaked on Flake:
In the days following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Flake vowed not to be swayed by the National Rifle Association. He had an A rating from the gun lobby at the time, and that made him a unicorn of sorts — a Republican Senator not backing down. "I was troubled by that proposal, greatly troubled by that kind of Washington mandate, federal involvement in local schools," he said in January of the NRA's insistence to put more guns in schools.
And in the days leading to his eventual vote to filibuster background checks, Flake told a mother of a man killed in the Aurora shootings that he still stood by her: "While we may not agree on every solution, strengthening background checks is something we can agree on." That's in his own handwriting.
Flake represents the same state where former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot. He recounted to The New York Times an encounter with Giffords after he said he could not change his vote to join the gun control crowd when it mattered. "I said I was sorry," Flake told The Times's Jennifer Steinahuer, "looking despondent."
He was probably on to something there. The Post poll points out that while some people don't really care that background checks failed, PPP shows that Senators Kelly Ayotte, Lisa Murkowski, Mark Begich, and Rob Portman all saw their approval ratings drops after the filibuster vote.
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The PPP poll focused mainly on guns and gun policy. But Flake is part of the so-called "Gang of Eigh" that introduced an immigration reform bill on April 18 — a legislative proposal that already has its fair share of conservative critics, and in just 11 days. Flake, in particular, is already being ripped apart for it. That probably isn't good for Flake's approval ratings.
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Apparently, vintage John McCain is not a good thing in Republican eyes. And the right-leaning National Review reported that conservative critics think Flake and the Gang might be (shocker) selfishly acting in their best interest instead of doing their jobs. "Conservative critics of the Gang of Eight’s immigration-reform bill worry that the bill’s Republican backers, well meaning as they might be, are putting politics before policy by letting their desire to win over Hispanic voters blind them to what’s actually in the bill," writes the NRO's Andrew Stiles, insisting that the immigration deal doesn't do adhere to an "enforcement first" (a.k.a. more border security strategy).
It's possible that Jeff Flake can't do any worse with Democrats and independents, but conservatives still like this guy — for now.
UPDATE: Like all Tea-Publicans who don't know what the hell they are talking about, Sen. Flake has dismissed this PPP poll because it is a polling firm that does work for a lot of Democrats. Mr. Epistemic Closure only believes conservative polling firms. As Steve Benen reminds us, Jeff Flake's troubles are not PPP's fault:
[T]his is probably a good time for Republicans to realize that Public Policy Polling is a real outlet for credible survey results. The right lost this talking point last year when PPP had the best year of any pollster in the country -- which is more than can be said of Republican outlets like Rasmussen, which were among the worst.
If there was ever a time GOP officials could dismiss Public Policy Polling results as unreliable, that day has long since passed.
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo: Sen. Jeff Flake: Yep, My Vote Against Gun Control Tanked My Poll Numbers.