Polls: Shooting spree not due to rhetoric

Jan. 11, 2011 at 4:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Most Americans don't blame the shooting rampage in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was wounded on violent political language, two poll released Tuesday indicated.

While 57 percent said the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., was not related to political rhetoric, 32 percent said the two are linked, CBS News reported. The poll was conducted by the CBS News Polling Unit.

There was a partisan divide with 69 percent of Republicans saying there is no connection and 19 percent disagreeing, the CBS poll revealed. The split among Democrats was 49-42. Among independents, 56 percent saw no connection and 33 percent did.

A poll conducted by Vision Critical, formerly Angus Reid Strategies, produced similar, though not as decisive, findings with 51 percent of those it queried saying the shootings were the result of an individual's actions and should be regarded as an isolated incident. Thirty-one percent think the shootings were the result of the negative nature of politics in America, the Vision Critical poll found.

Thirty-seven percent said they expect more such violence in the United States in the next few months.

Giffords, D-Ariz., won a third term in November, narrowly defeating a Tea Party Republican. Sarah Palin's SarahPAC produced a map during the campaign that showed cross-hairs in Giffords' districts and others held by Democrats perceived as vulnerable.

Jared Lee Loughner, 22, who has been charged with wounding Giffords and 13 others and killing six people, including a federal judge, appears to have pronounced, if incoherent, anti-government views.

CBS interviewed 673 adults by telephone Sunday and Monday. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

Vision Critical's poll of 1,008 American adults was conducted online Monday and Tuesday. It carries a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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