National gun rights groups are coming to the aid of Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) this week, days after a poll showed her approval rating plummeting in the wake of a controversial vote against a bipartisan bill to expand background checks for gun purchases.
On Monday, the "New Hampshire men and women of the National Rifle Association" began running a radio ad praising Ayotte as an unselfish politician intent on "protecting our kids."
"But Sen. Kelly Ayotte is focused on meaningful bipartisan solutions to our nation's problems. That's because Kelly Ayotte is not just a senator, she's also a mom who cares about protecting our kids," the spot's narrator says. "She knows that the only way to protect our children from tragedies like Sandy Hook is to fix our broken mental health system. That's why Kelly Ayotte brought Republicans and Democrats together on a bipartisan solution, and it's why Kelly had the courage to oppose misguided gun control laws that would not have prevented Sandy Hook. Kelly Ayotte is focused on prosecuting law breakers and fixing our broken mental health system."
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade association, also took to the airwaves in support of Ayotte on Monday, the Washington Post reports. Their spot characterizes Ayotte's vote against expanded background checks as a boost to hunters and seems to make a veiled reference to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"Gun owners and hunters, say 'thank you' to our Sen. Kelly Ayotte," a narrator says in the radio spot. "Thank you for standing up to political pressure from a big city mayor who thinks he knows what's best for the rest of us. Thank you for voting to protect the rights of gun owners, hunters and all who cherish the freedom of our Second Amendment. And thank you for helping to protect jobs and our economy."
The support comes as Ayotte returns home during a Senate recess to address her constituents and attempt to make up the 11-point drop that a Public Policy Polling survey revealed in her job approval since the vote.
Recent rounds of polling for other senators who opposed the background checks bill have suggested similarly that the vote has come back to bite them, especially in states where a majority of voters have said they support background checks.
Nationally, most polls taken since the December mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., have found that upwards of 80 percent of respondents favor of background checks for gun sales, and that there is relatively little partisan division on the issue.