Giffords shooting: Rhetoric blameless
Washington - A majority of Americans reject the view that heated political rhetoric was a factor in the weekend shootings in Arizona which killed six and critically wounded a congresswoman, CBS News reported in a poll released on Tuesday.
Since the Saturday incident in which Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot at point-blank range, various politicians and commentators have said a climate in which strong language and ideological polarisation is common may have contributed to the attack.
Some of the analysts cited anti-government statements from the man arrested in the shooting, Jared Lee Loughner, as support for that view.
But CBS said its nationwide telephone poll found that, "57% of respondents said the harsh political tone had nothing to do with the shooting, compared to 32% who felt it did."
Rejection of a link was strongest among Republicans, 69% of whom felt harsh rhetoric was not related to the attack, while 19% thought it played a part.
Among Democrats 49% placed no blame on the heated political tone against 42% who did. Among independents the split was 56% to 33%, CBS said.
It said its poll of 673 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. The poll was conducted January 9-10, CBS said.