Voters give mixed marks to the media’s handling of the recent tragic shootings in Arizona, and most say the coverage focused too much on the political angle of the story.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters think, generally speaking, that the media’s coverage of the incident has been good or excellent. Twenty-four percent (24%) rate the coverage as poor. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But 56% say the news coverage of the shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others has focused too much on the political implications. Only six percent (6%) believe there has not been enough coverage of the political angle, while 29% say the media coverage has been about right.
Seventy-four percent (74%) of Democrats regard the news coverage of the shootings as good or excellent. Only 37% of Republicans and 34% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties share that view.
Seventy-four percent (74%) of GOP voters and 65% of unaffiliateds say the media coverage focused too much on the political implications. A plurality (46%) of Democrats, on the other hand, say the coverage was about right.
Although initially some media coverage tried to link the shootings to Tea Party anger at President Obama’s policies, just 28% of Americans view the shootings in Arizona as the result of political anger in the country. Fifty-eight percent (58%) say instead that it was a random act of violence by an unstable person.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on January 13-14, 2011 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. See methodology.
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