Jeff Flake: I’m less popular than ‘pond scum’ after gun vote

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is acknowledging that his vote against background checks may have hurt his reputation back home.

In a Facebook post Monday evening, the senator highlighted a Public Policy Polling survey showing him as one of the least popular senators in the country, with a 34 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval rating.


Protesters take part in a Phoenix protest against Sen. Jeff Flake (R) over his gun control vote on April 19. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

"Nothing like waking up to a poll saying you're the nation's least popular senator," Flake wrote. "Given the public's dim view of Congress in general, that probably puts me somewhere just below pond scum."

He noted the Democratic polling firm's "leftist bent" but said that nonetheless, "I would assume that my poll numbers have indeed taken a southerly turn since my vote against the Manchin-Toomey background check proposal. It was a popular amendment, and I voted against it." He then links to an Arizona Republic column defending him for taking a "nuanced view" on background checks. He has voiced support for strengthening existing background checks but not for making them universal.

It's a different answer than Flake gave the Daily Caller on Monday, when the senator dismissed the numbers. If we believed PPP polls,” he said, “I wouldn't be here at all.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who also voted against the background checks legislation, is getting support back home from pro-gun rights radio ad campaigns.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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