May 5, 1999 - School Shootings Could Happen Here, Connecticut Voters Tell Quinnipiac College Poll; Voters Split On Ground Troops In Kosovo
An overwhelming 88 percent of Connecticut voters are very concerned or somewhat concerned that school violence similar to the Littleton shooting could happen in their local schools, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today. Ten percent are not too concerned and 2 percent are not concerned at all.

A total of 92 percent of women are very concerned or somewhat concerned that school violence could strike close to home, while 82 percent of men are very concerned or somewhat concerned. Concern among city voters is only slightly higher than suburban and rural voters.

Looking at possible causes for such school violence, there is plenty of blame to go around. When offered several choices, voters select most of them:
  • 63 percent blame the availability of guns a great deal and 20 percent give guns some blame;
  • 54 percent blame parents a great deal and 36 percent give parents some blame;
  • 44 percent blame television, movies and music a great deal, and 36 percent give them some blame;
  • 41 percent blame the Internet a great deal, and 36 percent give it some blame;
  • 37 percent blame social pressures on youth a great deal and 42 percent give them some blame;
  • 36 percent blame video games a great deal and 38 percent give them some blame;
  • 33 percent blame media coverage of similar incidents a great deal and 46 percent give media some blame;
  • 9 percent blame the schools a great deal and 36 percent give the schools some blame.



"People are blaming the messenger - people have always done that and always will," said Bill McLaughlin, Quinnipiac College Associate Professor of Mass Communications and Journalist in Residence .

"But I think the anger out there is a reaction to the reckless and sometimes dangerous `live' television coverage of tragedies like Littleton by the 24-hour cable news outlets and their constant repetition of scenes of carnage. This type of news coverage is untempered by news ethics or minimal intelligence," McLaughlin said.

"What is remarkable is that everyone agrees that there are multiple causes to this type of event. It's not a one-shot message that lends itself to an easy solution," said Quinnipiac College School of Law Professor Gregory Loken, who also directs the Center for Children and the Family. Loken is a 1970 graduate of Littleton High School, near Columbine High School.

"It shows how little attention we have paid to the moral growth and safety of teenagers; how little we have considered the special dangers facing teenagers both as potential victims of crimes and as potential criminals."

By a 79 - 12 percent margin, Connecticut voters support a proposal to require insurance companies to provide the same coverage for mental health and addiction problems that they provide for other illnesses. Split on Kosovo Policy

Turning to another issue, Connecticut voters are split evenly at 47 - 46 percent on whether they would support sending U.S. ground troops into combat in Kosovo.

Voters approve 52 - 40 percent of the way president Clinton is handling the situation in Yugoslavia and give him a 53 - 44 percent overall approval rating.

From April 26 to May 2 Quinnipiac College surveyed 649 Connecticut residents who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent. The Quinnipiac College Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Joseph Lieberman is handling his job as United States Senator?

                                                                 Oct 22
                       Total   Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women  1998


Approve 67% 63% 73% 64% 63% 69% 70%

Disapprove 19 24 17 19 25 15 16

DK/NA 14 13 10 17 11 16 14



3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christopher Dodd is handling his job as United States Senator?

                                                                 Oct 22
                       Total   Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women  1998


Approve 61% 41% 82% 59% 60% 61% 62%

Disapprove 25 46 10 23 29 21 27

DK/NA 14 13 8 18 10 17 11



4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Clinton is handling his job as President?

                                                                  Oct 22
                       Total   Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women   1998


Approve 53% 24% 81% 48% 49% 55% 58%

Disapprove 44 72 18 48 49 39 39

DK/NA 4 4 2 4 1 5 3

12. There is currently a proposal in Connecticut that would require insurance companies to provide the same coverage for mental health and addiction problems that they provide for other illnesses. Do you think this proposal is a good idea or a bad idea?

                       Total   Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women


Good idea 79% 71% 91% 78% 73% 84%

Bad idea 12 20 4 13 18 8

DK/NA 8 10 5 9 9 8



13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Clinton is handling the situation in Yugoslavia involving Serbia and Kosovo?

                       Total   Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women


Approve 52% 32% 64% 53% 51% 54%

Disapprove 40 60 28 39 44 36

DK/NA 8 8 8 8 5 10



14. How closely have you been following news about the United States and NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia? Have you been following it very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?

                       Total   Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women


Very closely 39% 48% 35% 38% 46% 33%

Smwht closely 48 41 47 50 43 51

Not too closely 12 11 17 11 10 15

Not at all 1 - 2 1 1 1

DK/NA - - - - - -



15. If the current air strikes are not effective in achieving the United States' objectives in Kosovo, would you favor or oppose President Clinton sending U.S. ground troops into combat in the region, along with troops from other NATO countries?

                       Total   Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women


Favor 47% 48% 54% 43% 54% 42%

Oppose 46 49 38 49 41 50

DK/NA 7 3 8 8 5 9



20. Next we have some questions about the recent shooting at the Littleton, Colorado high school, where 12 students were killed by two of their classmates. How concerned are you that this kind of violence could happen in your local schools -- Very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned or not concerned at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Very concerned 56% 62% 53% 55% 47% 62% 54%

Smwht concerned 32 30 34 32 35 30 36

Not too concerned 10 7 10 10 14 6 9

Not concerned at all 2 1 3 2 4 1 1

DK/NA - - 1 - 1 - 1



21. How much do you blame media coverage of similar incidents for causing shootings like the one in Littleton, Colorado -- would you say a great deal, some, not much or not at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Great deal 33% 38% 31% 32% 27% 37% 36%

Some 46 46 45 45 47 44 45

Not much 11 9 12 10 15 8 11

Not at all 9 5 10 10 8 9 8

DK/NA 2 1 1 2 3 1 -



22. How much do you blame Social pressures on youth for causing shootings like the one in Littleton, Colorado -- would you say a great deal, some, not much or not at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Great deal 37% 37% 39% 35% 33% 41% 40%

Some 42 43 44 40 41 44 44

Not much 11 12 9 13 15 9 10

Not at all 7 5 7 9 10 5 6

DK/NA 2 2 1 3 2 2 -



23. How much do you blame availability of guns for causing shootings like the one in Littleton, Colorado -- would you say a great deal, some, not much or not at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Great deal 63% 75% 64% 49% 46% 75% 67%

Some 20 14 20 28 24 18 21

Not much 8 7 8 10 15 3 5

Not at all 7 3 6 12 14 2 5

DK/NA 1 1 1 2 1 2 1



24. How much do you blame television programs, movies, and music for causing shootings like the one in Littleton, Colorado -- would you say a great deal, some, not much or not at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Great deal 44% 48% 44% 43% 33% 53% 36%

Some 36 35 35 40 41 32 41

Not much 10 9 12 6 13 8 14

Not at all 9 8 9 10 12 6 9

DK/NA 1 - 1 2 1 1 1



25. How much do you blame schools for causing shootings like the one in Littleton,Colorado -- would you say a great deal, some, not much or not at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Great deal 9% 14% 7% 9% 8% 11% 10%

Some 36 35 36 37 28 42 30

Not much 27 26 30 24 28 27 34

Not at all 25 22 25 27 33 19 25

DK/NA 2 3 2 3 4 1 1



26. How much do you blame parents for causing shootings like the one in Littleton, Colorado -- would you say a great deal, some, not much or not at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents
Great deal               54%    50%    55%    56%    55%    53%    50%


Some 36 41 35 33 33 38 41

Not much 5 5 5 5 5 5 7

Not at all 3 3 3 4 5 2 2

DK/NA 2 1 2 2 1 2 1



27. How much do you blame the internet for causing shootings like the one in Littleton, Colorado -- would you say a great deal, some, not much, or not at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Great deal 41% 49% 38% 40% 27% 52% 43%

Some 36 30 39 35 43 31 36

Not much 9 8 10 8 13 6 9

Not at all 8 5 9 10 13 5 11

DK/NA 6 8 3 6 5 6 2



28. How much do you blame video games for causing shootings like the one in Littleton, Colorado -- would you say a great deal, some, not much or not at all?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Great deal 36% 41% 35% 32% 28% 41% 31%

Some 38 32 38 43 39 36 39

Not much 12 11 14 10 15 11 17

Not at all 10 11 10 11 14 8 13

DK/NA 4 5 2 5 4 4 1



29. Do you think that those who manufacture and sell guns should be held liable in lawsuits for the damages and injuries caused by those guns?

                                                                  Pub.sch.
                        Total  City  Suburbs Rural   Men   Women  parents


Yes 35% 46% 34% 26% 24% 42% 46%

No 62 49 63 71 73 54 52

DK/NA 4 5 3 4 3 4 2