Poll: Obama Gets High Marks For Arizona Response, Sarah Palin Bombs With The Public
The first poll assessing the political impact of last week's events is out, and it has good news for President Obama, and bad news for Sarah Palin.
Another post-Arizona poll, this one from ABC News and The Washington Post assesses the political fallout from the Jan. 8th shooting in Tucson and the week of political controversy that followed:
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; thahttps://www.outsidethebeltway.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpt includes 71 percent of Republicans and conservatives alike. Far fewer, 30 percent overall, approve of the response by his political rival, Sarah Palin.
Here are some specific numbers on the public assessment of how Obama and others handled the aftermath of the shooting:
- 78% approve of the President’s handling of the Arizona situation, 12% disapprove
- 30% approve of how Palin has handled the aftermath of the shootings, 46% disapprove
- 53% approve of how the news media has handled the story, 39% disapprove
More broadly, the public is not happy with the current state of political discourse and seems to blame the GOP more than the Democrats:
The public overwhelmingly sees the country’s political discourse as negative in tone; 82 percent say so, including three in 10 who say it’s “angry.” Still there’s a division, 49-49 percent, on whether it has created a climate that could encourage political violence.
On the Tucson shootings specifically, 54 percent of Americans do not think the political discourse contributed to the incident, while 40 percent think it did. Those who do see a connection divide on whether it was a strong factor.
The survey more generally finds blame for the political tone spread across a variety of groups. Half the public says the Tea Party political movement and its supporters, as well as political commentators on both side of the ideological divide, have “crossed the line” in terms of attacking the other side.
Forty-five percent say the Republican Party and its supporters have done the same; fewer, 39 percent, say so about the Democratic Party and its supporters, reflecting the Democrats’ continued broader allegiance overall.
The poll also shows some support for increased gun control, but support for gun control now is actually lower than it was four years ago:
Fifty-two percent of Americans in this survey favor stricter gun control laws in general; 45 percent are opposed. That fairly close division is a shift from before fall 2008. In 2006 and 2007 alike, for instance, 61 percent supported stricter gun control. The decrease in support may have been associated with the impending election of a Democratic president and Congress.
The 9-point drop in support for gun control from 2007 to now is mirrored in views specifically on banning semi-automatic handguns, which automatically re-load each time the trigger is squeezed. Fifty-five percent supported banning such weapons then, compared with 48 percent now. Likewise, there has been a 7-point decline in support for banning the sale of handguns overall, from 38 percent in 2007 to 31 percent now.
It’s hard to tell what the long term political impact of the shootings will be, but it does seem clear that those predicting the end of Sarah Palin’s political career as a result of her handling of the response to the controversy that erupted after the shooting may have been on to something.