Most Voters View Arizona Shootings As Random Act of Violence

Most Voters View Arizona Shootings As Random Act of Violence, Not Politics

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Americans have closely followed news stories about the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others in Arizona on Saturday, and most don’t feel politics was the cause of it.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 28% of Adults say the shooting in Arizona was the result of political anger in the country. Fifty-eight percent (58%) say instead that it was a random act of violence by an unstable person. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Republicans and 56% of adults not affiliated with either of the major political parties view the shooting as a random act of violence. Even Democrats by a 48% to 37% margin agree, although leading members of their party have attributed the shootings to a climate of anger they say has been generated by opponents of President Obama.

In a separate survey taken following the weekend shootings, 45% of Likely U.S. Voters said they are at least somewhat concerned that those opposed to the president’s policies will resort to violence, but 52% do not share that concern.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on January 10-11, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Eighty percent (80%) of Americans say they have followed recent news reports about the shooting of the congresswoman and others in Arizona, including 50% who say they have followed Very Closely.

A plurality (47%) of blacks blame the shootings on political anger in the country, while 60% of whites regard them as a random act by an unstable person.

Government workers are almost evenly divided on the question, while 57% of those who work in the private sector see the incident as a random act of violence.

There’s little difference of opinion between those who don’t own a gun and those who say someone in their household owns one.

Rasmussen Reports exit polling on Election Day last November found that 63% of those who voted were at least somewhat angry at the current policies of the federal government.

Voters continue to feel the Republican agenda in Congress is less extreme than that of congressional Democrats. Republicans hold an 11-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot, the widest gap between the two parties since right before Election Day.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of Americans believe violent video games lead to more violence in society.

In a November 2009 survey, 26% of employed adults said they have seriously thought that someone in their workplace was capable of mass violence.


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