Most Americans see no link between Arizona shooting and political rhetoric: poll

09:08, January 12, 2011      

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Most Americans think that political rhetoric was not a factor behind Saturday's shooting in Tucson, the U.S. state of Arizona, according to a CBS News poll released on Tuesday.

Most respondents in the poll -- 57 percent -- said the harsh tones that have marked the national political debate in recent years had nothing to do with the shooting, while 32 percent said the shooting was linked with political rhetoric, according to the poll.

The shooting, which took place at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, left six people killed and 14 others wounded.

Among the wounded is U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was presumably the main target of the gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner.

A national debate arose after the shooting over whether there was a link between harsh political rhetoric and the shooting.

One of the facts cited in the debate is that Giffords was among 20 lawmakers targeted in campaign literature by Sarah Palin, the conservative icon who may be considering a presidential run in 2012.

Moreover, Loughner posted messages on social networks before the shooting to express his distrust of government and personal animosity toward Giffords, according to investigators.

According to the CBS poll, the results were sharply different depending on the respondents' political identifications.

Republicans overwhelmingly rejected the political narrative, by 69 percent to 19 percent, while Democrats were more narrowly split, with 49 percent rejecting a role for political rhetoric and 42 percent accepting it.

Independents rejected a political narrative by 56 percent to 33 percent.

The poll was based on interviews with 673 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Source: Xinhua
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