Rasmussen Reports made some phone calls this week to gauge Americans’ perspectives on “congressional shooter,” James T. Hodgkinson. The 1,000-person survey found that most Americans directly connect Hodgkinson’s actions to “political anger” — far more than did the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — however, some significant differences in opinion can be seen according to party affiliation and sex.
Rasmussen found that out of the 1,000 American adults surveyed, a total of 55% blamed the shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice on “political anger in this country.” Just over a quarter, 28%, called it a “random act of violence by an unstable person,” while 17% said they weren’t sure either way.
“By comparison, just 28% said the shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others in Arizona in January 2011 was the result of political anger,”Rasmussen notes.
(As The Daily Wire highlighted, the editors of The New York Times made headlines in ways they did not intend to this week by publishing an egregiously dishonest editorial that falsely blamed Sarah Palin for the 2011 shooting of Giffords by mentally unstable Jared Loughner, initially claiming that the shooting had a “direct” connection to a “stylized cross hairs” symbol Sarah Palin’s PAC used on its website. After being called out for the patently false claim, the Times has since issued multiple corrections.)
Rasmussen found that partisan bias played a role in Americans’ perspectives on the shooting, with significantly fewer Democrats (49%) and Independents (51%) being willing to connect Hodgkinson’s actions with his openly anti-Republican, anti-Trump activism as compared to Republicans (68%) :
It was quickly established that this week’s shooter, killed by police on the scene, was a Bernie Sanders supporter who had made numerous threatening comments on social media about Republicans and President Trump. However, Democrats (49%) and those not affiliated with either major party (51%) are much less likely than Republicans (68%) to attribute the attack to political anger. Democrats and unaffiliateds are more likely to be undecided.
The survey found that men were also more willing to connect Hodgkinson’s politics to his actions, as were those who followed the story more closely, with 66% of those who said they followed it “Very Closely” blaming political anger.
Poll information: The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on June 14-15, 2017 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