Pat Toomey Approval Rises After Gun Control Stand: Poll

04/26/2013 11:23 am ET | Updated Apr 26, 2013

Sen. Pat Toomey's job rating is at a record high following the Pennsylvania Republican's sponsorship of legislation to expand gun background checks, according to a poll released Friday.

Pennsylvania voters approved of Toomey's performance by a margin of 48 percent to 30 percent, up a net 7 points from March, the Quinnipiac University survey reports.

He's now slightly more popular in the state than either fellow Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) or President Barack Obama.

Background checks are supported by 85 percent of Pennsylvania's voters. More than half, including a majority of Democrats and four in 10 Republicans, said that Toomey's co-sponsorship of a bipartisan background check bill improved their opinion of him. Just 12 percent said they saw him less favorably.

Voters approved of the senator's overall handling of gun control issues by a 5-point margin.

"Pennsylvania voters are dissatisfied, and many are angry, with the U.S. Senate's failure to act on gun control," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, wrote in a release. "By wide, sometimes overwhelming margins, they still want action. Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey gains ground with both parties by calling for stiffer background checks for prospective gun owners."

More than half of the state's voters said reducing gun violence should be more of a priority than protecting gun rights. The poll also found that most aren't single-issue voters when it comes to firearms: 63 percent of gun control supporters and 56 percent of gun rights supporters said they could vote for a candidate who disagreed with them.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,235 registered Pennsylvania voters by phone between April 19 and April 24.

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