Reader Poll: Does Background Check Saga Help or Hurt Toomey for 2016?

Toomey Manchin
Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey

Sen. Pat Toomey has been on the forefront of the background check issue for weeks as he and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) pushed legislation that was ultimately unsuccessful.

But the long term political repercussions aren’t clear. Has he hurt his base? Has he won over moderates? Will it even matter? You decide.

Does Background Check Saga Help or Hurt Toomey for 2016?


  • Helps. (51%)
  • It won't matter. (29%)
  • Hurts. (20%)

Total Voters: 598

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23 Responses

  1. The parents want comprehensive gun controls, including limiting magazine sizes. Background checks are just good common sense. The failure of the Senate to stand up the NRA (ie for-profit gun lobby) is the outrage.

  2. @ DD

    Proof that the families of shooting victims are being manipulated is derived from the fact that Connecticut/Colorado would not have been precluded by background checks…as per a consensus that has apparently been suppressed.

  3. Bob-
    Doesn’t say anything about “hunting”. It doesn’t say that you need gun with 30 rounds to “defend” yourself.

    It’s condescending of you to claim that the parents of the shooting victims are being manipulated. They are disgusted with the insensitivity of the NRA and the way legislators are bought and paid for by the gun lobby. It’s not about gun rights, it’s about gun profits.

  4. I think conservatives are making a mistake about Pat Toomey

    Team Obama are master manipulators and the tsunami of emotion from parents is overwhelming. Pat is holding back a tidal wave from my perspective. The parents are being skillfully and brilliantly exploited to advance the Obama gun agenda. This is political reality and Pat Toomey is making the very best of it. Elections have consequences and the Obama Administration sets the agenda.

    This bill is not the threat that many are saying it is:

    1) The Manchin-Toomey-Kirk-Schumer amendment expressly prohibits a national registry and goes one step further by requiring 15 years in jail for any government official who attempts to keep such a list. In other words, this amendment makes it harder – not easier — to create a federal registry than under current law.

    2) The Public Safety and 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act now allows concealed carry permit holders to skip a background check altogether.

    3) The Public Safety and 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act allows interstate sales of handguns, which is banned now.

  5. FYI The Pennsylvania Constitution says:

    Section 21 . Right to Bear Arms
    The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

  6. Pat was a hit @ the Leadership Conference, and he explained his convictions to Dom Giordano [1210-a.m., Philly] a fortnight ago, and on CSPAN last week.

    Regardless of one’s view on background-checks, there is little doubt that he conveys a well-reasoned analysis of the desire to streamline the process, notwithstanding Colorado/Connecticut/Arizona shootings.

    He is indubitably attempting to discharge his responsibility to represent his constituents intelligently and responsibly; he is principled and ethical, qualities that will acquit him well in ’16.

  7. Umm… you guys always leave out the “well regulated militia” part.

    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

  8. “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Democrats will never support Toomey, so Senator Toomey just keep alienating your conservative base that fought hard and smart to elect you. If we wanted two Casey’s, we would have elected another gun grabbing socialist like Sestak.

  9. “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Democrats will never support Toomey, so Senator Toomey just keep alienating your conservative base that fought hard and smart for you. If we wanted two Casey’s, we would have elected another gun grabbing socialist like Sestak.

  10. James-
    In a Presidential year, the Dems would be expected to beat Toomey with almost any candidate.

    If Sestak pursues a bid for Gov, and loses the primary, then he’s finished politically. Two statewide losses in a row would end his chances for 2016.

  11. UPDATE ON SESTAK:

    Since my comment earlier today, Sestak has posted a new campaign finance report. This report shows Sestak with about $460,000 on hand. Flipping few the first few dozen pages, most of the contributions appear to be max donations of $5,200 (split as $2,600 primary, $2,600 general), with the note: “Receipt for 2014”

    The filing fails to check off office being sought.

    Suspiciously, many of the funds are dated 3/31/13. Not only is this the last reporting day, but it’s a Sunday (not a postal day to receive mail). So, it seems like the date is artificial.
    Also, most seem to be in a very narrow two week period, even though quite a few are from out-of-state.

    This suggests coordination/pre-arrangement to pack months of fundraising into a short “receipt” window to make it look like Sestak raised $200,000 per week.

    It’s still an impressive sum for someone who has not made a formal announcement of candidacy. Although, much of the money (half on the first few pages) is earmarked for General election and unavailable for primary.

    The amount is on par with Toomey’s $514K.
    The amount is actually slightly more than what Sestak raised in first quarter of 2010.

    Of course with the donors who maxed out for Sestak, that well is now dry for additional funds, unless Sestak switches to a PA Gov committee and releases the limits.

    Anyway, this suddenly flux of fundraising certainly lends credence to Sestak looking at run for 2014. It ABSOLUTELY shows that Sestak is LYING about not having made any decisions about running for office. So, any reporter asking him about this needs to “call bullsh*t” if Sestak claims he hasn’t decided.

  12. sean-
    Reports he registered in Pittsburgh? No chance. He’s still registered outside of Philly, at the mail-stop (house) he uses to pretend he’s a PA resident. (Just like Santorum did.)

    The Pittsburgh connection is his teaching one or two classes at Carnegie-Mellon. When you work out the math of how much they are paying him, gas, tolls, lodging, and the drive/commute time, it works out to less than minimum wage. This is very ironic, considering how little he paid his staff.

    It’s all part of Sestak’s big-con to establish himself in the western part of the state. Think of it this way: It’s about a 5 hour trip. Philly area is pretty dense with local colleges. Are we to believe that Sestak couldn’t find a teaching opportunity closer than 5 hours from his “home”? Why would ANYONE drive 5 hours (each way) to teach one or two filler classes as an “adjunct professor”, when there are dozens of equivalent opportunities within an hour’s drive?

  13. llcnpa, i agree with you. unless a Tom Smith jumps in and can fund his own campaign, nobody uis going to seriously challenge Toomey in a primary. Then when you add the Dems fawning over him now, it gives him all the great sound bytes for 2016 to use to demonstrate he is an independent voice to 1 of 4 voters who only pay attenetion 1 month out of every 4 years.

    I agree with Diano about Sestak, reports are that he moved and registered in Pittsburgh. apparently he is dumb enough to run for governor. i also think anyone who thinks that Schwartz is a good candidate will also be disappointed as she was a fool to leave the powerful Ways and Means committee.

    i think Rob McCord who has won state wide and is just as prolific a fund raiser will be able to beat Corbett.

    As for Toomey, he is notorious for being soft on Social Issues. His anti-unionism and fiscal fanaticism are as extreme as he gets. You don’t get elected to represent the Lehigh Valley by being a radical social conservative. Toomey played this well and took the lead on the issue. I think if anyone looks bad it has Been Casey who has been largely absent on Guns and released conflicting messages on gay marriage only 2 days apart. I thin Schwartz should Primary Casey, she would beat him and could win a senate seat their.

  14. Toomey’s an anti-tax and anti-abortion nut. I don’t think he’s really as much of a anti-gun-control-nut as he is on those other issues.

    Around 80%-90% approve background checks. So, it’s not

    Toomey’s shtick is to occasionally sound moderate (compared to people like Santorum). That’s how he “outflanked” 🙂 the “Admiral” and captured the middle in the last election. (Well, actually, the Admiral outflanked himself by running too far to the left in the primary and not being to reverse course to the center.) Still, Toomey managed to fool people by sounding calm and reasonable.

    As for the future, the nut-jobs who form his base are among the unreasonable 10%-20% opposed to background checks. They might stay home or just skip “Senate” at ballot box in 2016. But, in Presidential year, Toomey is going to have a tough time with Philly having high turnout.

  15. It could encourage a weak primary challenge but helps him greatly in the general election especially in the swing Philly suburban districts

  16. From the minute Pat Toomey meekly tiptoed into the gun control fray, not a single Pennsylvanian believed he was doing it based on his convictions. Everyone asked “why’s he doing this?” because Toomeys 2nd Amendment soft shoe was so contrived and uncomfortable, nothing he could say made us believe HE believed in what he was doing. Pat failed miserably to stake out a true independent space or bring other Republicans over with his lackluster gun control performance, now he’s begging everyone to leave it in the past and forget it ever happened. Not likely. Because what Pat fails to realize is that to get a pass for joining the other team, the public has to believe you are passionately committed to your cause, like Marco Rubio on immigration reform. To earn the title of Maverick Leader, Pat had to at least pretend like he cared about what he was sticking his neck out for, but he never did. This whole episode makes junior Senator Toomey look every bit a confused political amateur.

  17. sean-
    Toomey will have a tough time in a presidential year, especially if Hillary is the nominee (and the Dems get a better candidate than Sestak).

    BTW, there is one indicator that Sestak might be stupid enough to run for Gov (and end his political career in 2014 with another statewide loss): he changed the name of his FEC committee from “Sestak for Senate” to “Friends of Joe Sestak”.

    Now, it’s still a Federal committee, and the office is still for Senate. So, it’s unclear if this is better “marketing/branding” or a switch to raising PAC money for other purposes than election.

    I would think more accurate committee names would be: “Dupes of Joe Sestak” or “Sestak for Himself”. But, alas, Joe didn’t ask for my input when renaming it.

  18. Toomey will now have an awesome win in his re-election. Not only did he take a front seat approach to the issue, his proposed compromise was nothing that we in PA do not already live with. Today Kathleen Kane just gave the greatest sound bite og Toomey’s re-election when she said “We need more leaders like Toomey”.

    The only way he loses is if some hock kneed ultra right winger primaries him. Then not only will toomey lose, but the GOP will lose the seat completely.

    And there are people stupid enough to do just that.

  19. I know this is just a rinky-dink online poll, but it’s so terribly worded. You ask if the background checks “help or hurt” and then the responses are Yes, No, or “It won’t matter.” Only one answer fits the question!

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