After several days of being inundated with the most fantastic smears, lies, and exaggerated rhetoric, only 32% of the American people - fewer than the percentage who identify themselves as Democrats - believe that political rhetoric was to blame for the Arizona shootings.
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.
Obviously, the far left figured that by jumping on the attack before the blood had even dried at the crime scene, that they could set the narrative and dominate debate. I would say they were successful for about the first 24 hours but when the pushback began, it gained steam quickly - even gathering some on the left who jumped to the defense of the right. Not many, but Jon Chait at New Republic, George Packer and Howard Kurtz were among a few honest liberals who took the left to task for their false narrative.
It probably was ordained from the start that the left would be unsuccessful given their own history of violent rhetoric directed against the right. But the right has learned how to use social media tools and other means to counter the left on the internet and what was once a large advantage for liberals on the net has disappeared and a rough equivalence has been achieved.