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45% Worry That Obama Opponents Will Turn To Violence

Despite the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, voter concern that opponents of President Obama’s policies will turn to violence has declined slightly over the past year.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters are at least somewhat concerned that those opposed to the president’s policies will resort to violence, including 22% who are Very Concerned. But 52% do not share that concern, with 19% who are Not At All Concerned. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Democrats express concern that opponents of the president’s policies will resort to violence. Most Republicans (67%) and unaffiliated voters (54%) do not share that concern.

The survey was taken Sunday and Monday nights following the Saturday shooting of Giffords and the killing of six others in Tucson, Arizona by a suspect who appears to be mentally ill.

The latest findings are comparable to results in September 2009 following angry congressional town hall meetings across the country protesting the then-proposed national health care bill. At that time, 43% of voters were concerned that Obama opponents would turn to violence.

By late March of last year, following passage of the health care bill by Democrats in Congress, 53% of voters expressed concern that foes of Obama’s policies would become violent.

Voter support for repeal of the health care law remains high. Opposition to the law played a key part in the big GOP victories in November’s midterm elections, and the House, now controlled by Republicans, was expected to repeal the measure in a vote this week. But that vote has been delayed because of the Giffords shooting.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 9-10, 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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