News & Politics

Marco Rubio's Approval Ratings Plummet to Lowest Point Ever After Awful Response to Parkland Shooting

More than half of respondents think he's specifically weak on gun violence.

Photo Credit: CNN

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's approval rating has plummeted as he struggles to respond to the devastating Parkland shooting.

Only 38 percent of people in Florida approve of him, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll, while 53 percent disapprove. This is the lowest point to which the Republican's polls have ever dropped and the first time more than half of his state has disapproved of him. 

For the man who was once assumed to be the strongest candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, the drop is startling. Another Quinnipiac poll found that 52 percent of people disapprove of Rubio's handling of gun violence, while only 31 percent approve—numbers that closely mirror his general approval rating.

"Floridians are strongly united that more needs to be done to reign in guns, especially the type of gun used this month to massacre 17 people in Parkland," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the poll. 

Following the shooting, Rubio gave a dismal speech on the Senate floor that offered no solutions to gun violence while dismissing gun control proposals. Then, he joined a CNN town hall on gun violence where he was excoriated for his ties to the National Rifle Association and seemed unable to give good answers to tough questions. Under the harsh criticism, Rubio hardly looked the part of a leader. 

Rubio isn't up for reelection in his Senate seat until 2022, so it's not clear how much these numbers will hold in the long term. But his falling approval rate is a sign that something is changing in the gun debate.

Voters will not be happy with politicians they see as ineffective on gun violence, and that might scare enough elected officials into actually getting something done.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.