Tales from the Trail

U.S. public says Giffords shooting, rhetoric unrelated

RTXWDK6_Comp-150x150Most Americans see no relation between the attempted assassination of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the political tactic of lacing vitriolic rhetoric with firearms analogies.

That’s the conclusion of a CBS News poll that found most Republicans (69 pct), most independents (56 pct) and even a plurality of Democrats (49 pct) believe the two phenomena unrelated.

Those numbers add up to 57 percent of Americans overall — a true majority though not quite big enough to break a Senate filibuster.

The survey, which has a 4 percentage point margin of error, did not ask whether graphic images of rifle cross-hairs, references to finding a Second Amendment solution to congressional reform and similar ballistic gimmickry should continue in force or get booted (not fired) fromRTXWE5N_Comp-150x150 political marketing departments in the interests of public safety.

Giffords’ accused assailant, Jared Loughner, is described as a mentally disturbed loner who used a semi-automatic pistol with an extended ammunition clip to kill six people and wound 14 others on a sunny Saturday in Arizona. He was subdued only when he stopped to reload.

Poll finds Obama losing favor among independents

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is showing the steepest decline among independents, slipping below 40 percent for the first time in a year, according to a new Gallup poll. OBAMA/

That’s not good news for Democrats four months before the November elections when all seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for a vote.

Even though it isn’t a presidential election year, the state of  Obama’s popularity can rub off on his party with Democrats fighting to retain control of both houses of Congress. Independents could be key in determining the outcome of close races, and certainly worthy of wooing.