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Rasmussen poll: Orlando massacre a terrorist issue, not a gun matter

A new poll by the conservative pollster Rasmussen Reports finds Americans think the Orlando massacre is more about terrorism than guns.

The survey found 57 percent of those polled consider the shooting primarily a terrorism issue, while 38 percent thought it was primarily a gun-control issue.

However, even those who consider it a terrorism issue believe something needs to be done about preventing people on government watch lists from purchasing firearms: 85 percent of all the respondents said such people should not be allowed to buy firearms, while only 6 percent thought they should be allowed.

The survey, of 1,000 likely voters, was taken last Tuesday and Wednesday. Rasmussen claims a margin of error of 3 percent.

It also found Americans believe President Barack Obama responded better to the massacre than either presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The survey was conducted before Obama and Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Orlando to pay their respects on Thursday, and Clinton made a speech. Neither Trump nor Clinton has come to Orlando, though Clinton said she intended to soon.

Forty-two percent of respondents told Rasmussen they thought Obama responded well, while 38 percent thought he responded poorly.

Thirty-five percent said Clinton responded well, and 39 percent, poorly.

Thirty-three percent said Trump responded well, and 44 percent, poorly.

However, those splits were highly partisan. Obama and Clinton got strong majorities of favorable responses from Democrats (77 percent and 65 percent respectively,) and Trump cleared 50 percent among Republicans (53 percent favorable.) Opposing parties trashed them, with none of the candidates doing better than 15 percent favorable.


Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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