A Public Policy Polling poll of three southern red states, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee, finds strong support for expanding background checks even in these Republican strongholds. Georgia voters support “requiring background checks for all gun sales, including gun shows and the internet” by a 71/22 margin. Tennessee voters split 67/26 and Arkansans split 60/31.
In what may be the poll’s most significant finding, however, 40 percent of voters say they would be more likely to vote for Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) next year if he voted for expanded background checks, while only 34 percent say they are less likely to support him. Pryor was one of a handful of Democrats who opposed background check legislation last month in what was widely viewed as an effort to shore up his reelection chances in a conservative state. Based on this new polling data, it now appears that such a reelection strategy is misguided not just as a matter of policy, but as a matter of pure politics.