New polling from Public Policy Polling (PPP) indicates that in three key Senate races where the National Rifle Association has spent millions of dollars, the NRA’s efforts have made voters less likely to support the NRA-endorsed candidate.
In a November 3 polling memo, PPP noted that “voters are uncomfortable with the efforts of the gun lobby - especially in Missouri, Nevada, and North Carolina - to try to influence the results of the election this fall on behalf of the candidates they support.”
PPP found that “voters say by a 20 point spread in each of those states that gun groups’ efforts actually make them less likely to support the Republican candidate”:
The largest spread, where voters were less likely to vote for the NRA’s candidate by a 25-point margin, occurred in North Carolina. The NRA has spent more than $6 million in the U.S. Senate race in that state, which is more than the group has spent on any other congressional race.
Approximately 90 percent of NRA spending in that race has been on attack ads against Democratic candidate Deborah Ross, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). One NRA attack ad smeared Ross as an opponent of self-defense by distorting a vote she made against an omnibus pro-gun bill that included provisions to make it easier for domestic abusers to access guns.
In Missouri, where the NRA has a negative-21-point spread on its campaign spending, guns have become a significant issue in the race since the NRA released attack ads against Democratic candidate Jason Kander -- a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan -- that distorted his voting record on the gun issue.
After Republican incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt attacked Kander’s record on guns, Kander’s campaign released an ad showing him assembling a firearm with a blindfold on while he talked about his experiences in Afghanistan and about keeping guns away from terrorists. After assembling the gun, Kander said, “I'd like to see Sen. Blunt do this.” The spot has been called “the best ad of the election so far” and “remarkable.” The NRA has spent over $2.5 million opposing Kander and nearly $500,000 supporting Blunt.