The poll numbers are coming out now on how Americans are perceiving the tragic shootings in Arizona and the response of some politicians to it. The verdict: Obama rising and Palin at the very best did not impress or unimpressed.
Americans divide on the risks posed by the tone of the country’s political discourse but approve overwhelmingly of President Obama’s attempt to redirect it. Most also hold some hopes of political conciliation in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings.
Seventy-eight percent in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll approve of the way Obama has responded to the shootings, which he addressed in a speech in Tucson last week; that includes 71 percent of Republicans and conservatives alike. Far fewer, 30 percent overall, approve of the response by his political rival, Sarah Palin.
Moreover, there has been a shift — small but significant — in a sense that Obama and the Republicans in Congress may find a way to work together on important issues in the year ahead. Fifty-five percent are optimistic that this may happen, up from 48 percent in an ABC News-Yahoo News poll earlier this month, before the attack occurred.
CNN finds a bit more “nuance” in the reaction of voters:
Americans feel sadness, anger and shock in the wake of the tragic events in Tucson, Arizona, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates there’s plenty of blame to go around over the shootings, but two-thirds of the public is pessimistic that the government or society can prevent something like this from happening again.
Ninety-three percent of people questioned in the poll say that they personally felt sadness in response to the shootings, with just over seven in ten saying they personally felt anger, and two thirds saying they felt shock. Only 32 percent said fear was an emotion they experienced in response to the shootings.
The survey indicates that while a majority of Americans say that current gun laws deserve a great deal or a moderate amount of blame for the shootings in Arizona, seven in ten say that the incident does not make them more likely to support stricter gun control laws….
…Seven out of ten blame the resources available to deal with people who may be mentally ill as a contributing factor to the shooting.
According to the poll, the public doesn’t blame Sarah Palin’s website for the incident in Arizona. Only a third of all Americans say that the website – which had an image that looked like the crosshairs of a gun marking Gifford’s congressional district – deserves a great deal or a moderate amount of blame. The former Alaska governor put the website up last year during the debate over health care reform, to highlight 20 congressional districts won by Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, where Democratic representatives were voting in favor of the legislation.
QUESTION: 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?
…..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
Great deal 19% … Moderate amount 16% … Not much 15% … Not at all 44%
And it concludes:
So a substantial minority — 35 percent — blame the Palin map either a great deal or a moderate amount for what happened in Tucson. Granted polls don’t do nuance well, but that number should be 0 percent.
Still a poll like the CNN polls is seen in varied ways. For instance:
–– Doug Mataconis:
The public doesn’t seem to be at all convinced of the “tone” arguments that some pundits made to try to assign blame for what happened in Tucson, and they seem to have a greater appreciation for the role that mental health issues play in cases like this. Perhaps the guys on CNN and MSNBC should get a clue.
Still, although the shooting did not change minds, a full majority of Americans blamed lax gun control either a great deal or a moderate amount. Another 48% pointed to the political climate as a factor. 35% said that they blamed Sarah Palin’s website for the shootings either a great deal or a moderate amount, while 59% said it was unlikely that Palin had any influence.
If Obama’s speech was as great as the Democrat Party claims it was, then either the Gallup daily tracking poll or Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll would show significant improvement to his approval numbers. Unfortunately for the man who engaged in a land transaction with convicted felon Tony Rezko, Gallup and Rasmussen do not show any significant improvement to Obama’s approval numbers in four days of polling after the speech….
…..In other poll news, even CNN/Opinion Research, which is usually an Obama-friendly pollster, finds that 59% of adults do not believe “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” played much of a role in the shooting. What is scary is that a majority of adults who identify with the Democrat Party and a near plurality of minorities actually blame the map a great deal or a moderate amount. Republicans, independents, moderates, conservatives, and adults living in suburban and rural areas overwhelmingly reject this blood libel against Governor Palin.
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.,,
…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.
CNN Poll: By 59% to 35% Margin Americans Say Palin’s Crosshairs Map Had Nothing to do With Giffords’ Shooting…
…In related news, 35% of the American public has been brainwashed by the MSM into believing Captain Crazypants was driven to mass murder by a map (that he probably never saw).
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.