Politicians are not strangers to acts of violence and threats. In March, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office door was destroyed just hours after she cast her vote on health care legislation. At the time police said they believed some kind of gun was used to shatter the glass. (Photo at right courtesy of Rep. Gifford’s staff at the time.)
In the wake of the tragic shooting of Rep. Giffords in Tucson, do you expect violence against other politicians?
About 2 in 10 voters (22%) are very concerned that opponents of President Obama’s policies will resort to violence, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. This survey was conducted during the two days after the Saturday shootings in Arizona. An additional 23% of voters are somewhat concerned. Democrats (63%) are more worried than Republicans (only 30% are very or somewhat concerned that opposition to Obama’s policies could turn violent). This level of national concern is about the same as it was in fall 2009 when opponents of healthcare disrupted local town hall meetings, according to Rasmussen Reports. After the healthcare reform bill was passed, worries about violence were even higher.
I don’t know about you, but I’m surprised at how high the expectation of violence is right now. While there have been incidents in the past, violent actions against politicians have been relatively rare. And, violence—when it occurs—is often not politically motivated in the first place. Contrast that with places around the globe where violence and politics are hand in glove.
What do you make of the high level of concern about violence against politicians?
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