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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