Gallup Poll: Conservatives Not to Blame for Ariz. Shootings

Thursday, 13 Jan 2011 01:54 PM

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More than half of Americans reject the idea that inflammatory political language from conservatives was partly to blame for the Arizona shooting rampage Saturday that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition, killed six, and wounded more than a dozen others in Tucson, Ariz., according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona, shootingsThe poll showed that just 35 percent believe inflammatory rhetoric was responsible for the tragedy, while 53 percent said it wasn't. When asked whether stricter gun-control laws in Arizona would have prevented the shooting, only 20 percent said it would, while 72 percent said tighter controls would not have prevented it.

A similar CBS News poll showed a slightly larger majority of Americans (57 percent) believe politics had nothing to do with the shooting by the alleged gunman responsible for the attack, including 49 percent who said they were Democrats. Only 42 percent of Democrats surveyed believe the shootings were a political act, while 33 percent of independents said it may have contributed to the shooting.

The Gallup poll also showed 42 percent of Americans believe the attacker acted on political beliefs, while 22 percent cited politics as a minor factor. Only 20 percent said the heated language used in politics today was a major factor in the shootings.

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