WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Americans say political discourse is negative but it didn't lead to the Tucson shootings that killed six and wounded 13, a Washington Post poll indicated.
The Jan. 8 shootings in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was injured sparked public discussion about whether political dialogue in the country has become too toxic. In the Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday, results indicated Americans are split evenly about whether the tone could encourage violence, with about half saying the culture hasn't gone that far and half saying it could or already has.
President Obama's handling of the tragedy was viewed as highly positive across the political spectrum, with nearly eight in 10 people giving him high marks for his response, the poll indicated. Seventy-one percent of Republicans said they approve of his leadership following the shootings.
The reviews of the president's response, including delivering prime time remarks at a memorial service, helped boost Obama's overall approval rating to its highest point since last April, pollsters said. Fifty-four percent of all Americans said they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, while 43 percent said they disapprove.
Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews of 1,035 adults Thursday through Sunday. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.