NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The majority of Americans view the recent mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando as both a hate crime and an act of terrorism, according to a new CBS Poll.
Gunman Omar Mateen, wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun, opened fire inside Pulse, a crowded Florida gay nightclub early Sunday before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. The attack left at 49 people dead, making it the worst mass shooting in American history.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, claimed responsibility for the shooting, CBS News reported. The terror group’s news organization, Aamaq Agency, said the attack was “carried out by an Islamic State fighter.”
According to a new CBS News poll, 57 percent of Americans view the shooting as both an act of terror and as a hate crime, with 14 percent of people believing it was mostly an act of terror, and 25 percent believing it was mostly a hate crime.
America is also split 42 percent to 42 percent on whether or not the U.S. government had enough information to prevent the attack. According to the poll, this divide mirrors the same beliefs expressed after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
The White House and the FBI said the 29-year-old Mateen, an American-born Muslim, appears to be a self-radicalized “homegrown extremist” who had touted support not just for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, but other radical groups that are its enemies.
“The killer took in extremist information and propaganda over the Internet,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday. “He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized.”
When it comes to political response, 44 percent of Americans approved of Obama’s reaction to the Orlando attack. Americans remain divided on how the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (36 percent approval to 34 percent disapproval) has handled the attack — with 62 percent of Democrats showing support for the presumptive Democratic nominee. On the GOP side, 50 percent of Republicans approve of Donald Trump’s response, with only 25 percent of all Americans approving of the presumptive nominee’s response as a whole.
Fears over another potential terror attack are still relatively apparent among the population in the wake of Orlando and other recent mass shootings, like San Bernardino and the Paris Attacks. According to the CBS Poll, 33 percent of Americans believe there is a likelihood of another attack, down from 44 percent following the San Bernradino attacks in December and 53 percent — the all-time high — noted post 9/11 in 2001.