The shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday have drawn widespread public interest. A weekend survey finds that 57% of Americans say they followed news about the tragedy there very closely. That is higher than interest in the shootings at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater in July (49% very closely), though not as great as interest in the Columbine shootings in 1999 (68%).
The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 14-16 among 746 adults, finds the public is evenly divided over whether the Newtown shootings reflect broader problems in Americans society (47%) or are just the acts of troubled individuals (44%).
By contrast, clear majorities said that both the Aurora shootings, as well as the shootings in Tucson, Ariz. in Jan. 2011, were just the isolated acts of troubled individuals; 67% said that after the Aurora shootings at a movie theater and 58% said that after the Tucson shootings, which killed six and left former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords seriously wounded. Opinions today are comparable to reactions to the shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech University in April 2007.
Read the full article, Public Divided Over Lessons from Newtown, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.