CNN Poll: Public Split On Whether Political Rhetoric Affected Giffords Shooting

January 17, 2011 7:29 a.m.

A new CNN poll finds the public split on the whether the national political discourse had any effect on the shooting in Tucson. On the other hand, there is a clear verdict deciding that a specific instance of political rhetoric — Sarah Palin’s crosshairs map — did not contribute.

The poll asked: “Overall, how much do you blame each of the following for the shooting in Arizona — a great deal, a moderate amount, not much, or not at all?”

For the question, “The use of harsh rhetoric and violent metaphors by politicians and commentators,” 25% said a great deal, 23% a moderate amount, 17% not much, and 32% not at all — for a total of 48% great deal/moderate amount, to 49% not much/not at all.Another bullet point was, “A map on Sarah Palin’s website that marked 20 congressional districts, including the district represented by the congresswoman who was shot, with an image that looked like the crosshairs of a gun.” For this one, it was only 19% great deal and 16% moderate amount, to 15% not much and 44% not at all.

In addition, “The laws under which guns are bought and sold in this country,” the answer was 30% great deal and 22% moderate amount, to 14% not much and 33% not at all.

And in a very clear message, “The resources available to deal with people who may be mentally ill,” scored 41% great deal and 29% moderate amount, and 13% not much and 15% not at all.

The survey of American adults has a ±3% margin of error.

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