Cornyn’s Disapproval in Texas Jumps Following Support for Bipartisan Gun Bill

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) appears to be losing his star power in the Lone Star State after bucking party lines in support of a bipartisan gun bill

Cornyn’s disapproval rating shot up 10 percentage points in recent weeks, jumping to a 50% disapproval rating among registered Texas voters, eclipsing the 24% of Texans who say they approve of the senator’s performance in office, according to a poll from the University of Texas/Texas Politics Project released July 6. 

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“No, we’re done,” Cornyn told reporters earlier this week when asked if the GOP would negotiate on additional gun control measures, per the Hill. “The sort of things [Biden] was calling for don’t have support in the Senate or in the Congress on a bipartisan basis. In other words, they can’t get done.” 

The University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll surveyed 1,200 Texas voters between June 16-24 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. This was markedly different from the group’s poll in April, when he had a 39% disapproval rating and 32% approval rating, respectively. 

Another poll taken by Morning Consult from June 11-20 found that about two-thirds of Republicans approved of his performance in office. 

Although the University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll did not inquire about Cornyn’s support for the bipartisan gun reform legislation, the dip in his approval appears to correlate with his support for the bill. 

Last month, Cornyn huddled with Republicans and Democrats to hammer out a deal on legislation aimed at curtailing gun violence. Cornyn was the lead GOP negotiator in the talks. The move came after a slew of shootings, including the bloody Robb Elementary School shooting in May in his home state of Texas in which 22 people, including the shooter, were killed. 

Cornyn received hefty backlash from fellow members of the Republican Party for his role in the gun bill negotiations. During a Texas GOP convention last month, he was greeted with thunderous booing from the audience. 

Undeterred, Cornyn held steady in his support for a gun deal and ultimately joined 14 of his Republican colleagues as well as Democratic senators in voting for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was subsequently signed into effect by President Joe Biden. 

Cornyn had previously earned an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, which opposed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

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The legislation included a handful of provisions, such as strengthening background checks for gun purchasers between 18 and 21 years old and allocating funding for programs aimed at reducing violence. 

Cornyn first assumed office in 2002 and most recently won reelection to his Senate seat in 2020. He held the No. 2 Senate spot as majority whip from 2015 to 2019 and was succeeded by John Thune (R-SD) in that position in the Senate.

Reporting by The Washington Examiner.