CBS News has released a poll in the wake of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of several others.

The poll results show that the attempts by the left-blogosphere, mainstream media and some Democratic politicians to blame right-wing political speech and Sarah Palin for the shooting have not worked, so far, with most Americans:

Nearly six in 10 Americans say the country’s heated political rhetoric is not to blame for the Tucson shooting rampage that left six dead and critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, according to a CBS News poll….

Overall, 57 percent of respondents said the harsh political tone had nothing to do with the shooting, compared to 32 percent who felt it did. Republicans were more likely to feel the two were unrelated – 69 percent said rhetoric was not to blame; 19 percent said it played a part. Democrats were more split on the issue – 49 percent saw no connection; 42 percent said there was.

Independents more closely reflected the overall breakdown – 56 percent said rhetoric had nothing to do with the attack; 33 percent felt it did.

That even half of Democrats are not buying the smear is encouraging, but the fact that 42 percent of Democrats and 33 percent of Independents are buying into it is troubling.  But then again, as of May 2007, 35% of Democrats and 18% of Independents believed George Bush had advanced knowledge of 9/11.

The longer-term success of the Democratic Tucson smear remains to be seen.  Creating a false impression in the mind of the public sometimes takes time. 

I would not be surprised if years from now the numbers of Democrats and Independents who believe that Sarah Palin caused Jared Loughner to commit murder roughly approximates the percentages who believe Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11.  Fortunately, most Americans remain and will remain sane.

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