The New York Times was heavily criticized after comparing the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., last week with the shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., back in 2011. The Editorial Board at the Times did issue a revision after the backlash, leaving only fringe voices in the media to defend the comparison.
American voters don’t believe the two examples are comparable.
The People’s Pundit Daily (PPD Poll) Big Data Poll finds only 31% of likely voters say the shooting of Mr. Scalise and 3 others was predominantly criminal in nature. Fifty-six (56%) say the shooter identified as James Hodgkinson was politically motivated.
That compares to 60% who said the motivation behind the shooting of Rep. Giffords was criminal in nature. Only 28% said Jared Loughner was politically motivated when he gravely wounded Rep. Giffords and killed 6 others.
Partisanship and ideology still hold considerable predictive value, even on these two issues.
Republicans (91%) and conservatives (87%) are more likely to say the shooting involving Rep. Scalise was politically motivated, though a large percentage of Democrats (27%) also agree. Democrats are also the most likely partisan group to say they do not know. Fifty-five (55%) of moderates and 53% of independents agree the shooting was politically motivated.
A large percentage of self-identified liberals, 69%, also believe the shooting of Rep. Giffords was politically motivated. Still, that’s less than the percentage (78%) of liberals who believe the shooting at the baseball field was criminal.
Q: [Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise/Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords] was shot [this-last week/in 2011] by [James Hodgkinson/Jared Lee Loughner] while [practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game in Virginia/holding an event in Tucson, Arizona].
Do you believe the shooter’s motivation in the case of [Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise/Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords] was predominantly political or criminal?
The People’s Pundit Daily (PPD Poll) Big Data Poll follows level 1 AAPOR standards of disclosure and WAPOR/ESOMAR code of conduct. All publicly released surveys are subscriber– and individual reader donations-funded, not sponsored by any other media outlet, partisan or political entity.
The PPD Public Opinion Poll was conducted from June 14 to June 18 and is based on 1299 interviews of likely voters participating in the PPD Internet Polling Panel.
The PPD Poll has a 95% confidence interval and is not weighted based on party affiliation (party ID), but rather demographics from the U.S. Census Current Population Survey–i.e. age, gender, race, education and region etc. Partisan affiliation is derived from a proprietary likely voter model and demographic weighting, not the other way around.
The sample identified a D/R/I partisan split of 41% Republican, 36% Democrat, and 28% Independent/Other. Read more about methodology here.