Americans Starkly Divided on Interpretation of Orlando Massacre

Poll: Republicans call it terrorism, Democrats say it was domestic gun violence

A member of the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office wheels a body out of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where an ISIS-inspired gunman killed at least 49 people on Sunday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A member of the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office wheels a body out of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where an ISIS-inspired gunman killed at least 49 people on Sunday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Posted June 17, 2016 at 8:10am

If you think the murder of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub was an act terrorism, you’re probably a Republican.  

That’s according to a Gallup poll released Friday, which showed that Republicans and Democrats have starkly different interpretations of the worst mass shooting in America’s history.  

While 79 percent of Republicans responding to the survey described the shooting as an act of Islamic terrorism, 60 percent of Democrats said it was domestic gun violence, the poll found.  

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The poll also concluded that Americans of both persuasions are most likely to believe that banning gun sales to suspected terrorists would be the most effective way the government could prevent similar attacks in the future. Eighty percent of respondents said they believe such a move would be ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ effective, including 84% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans, the poll found.  

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The attack has been described from the beginning as a political Rorschach test because it contained elements of terrorism, hate crimes and mass shootings. And politicians seeking to take a message from the incident almost immediately seized selective details to make their case.  


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