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NYTimes Buries Own Poll Findings Showing Support for Armed Guards in School, Blaming Hollywood

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, focused on gun control, showed gains for stricter gun laws and (coincidentally?) made the front page of the national edition, in a report by Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman, under a wishful headline: "Massacre Sways Public In Way Others Did Not."

But they buried findings in the same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support conservative ideas of stationing armed guards in public places like schools and blaming Hollywood's culture of violence.

The massacre of children at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., appears to be profoundly swaying Americans’ views on guns, galvanizing the broadest support for stricter gun laws in about a decade, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

As President Obama tries to persuade a reluctant Congress to pass new gun laws, the poll found that a majority of Americans -- 54 percent -- think gun control laws should be tightened, up markedly from a CBS News poll last April that found that only 39 percent backed stricter laws.

The rise in support for stricter gun laws stretched across political lines, including an 18-point increase among Republicans. A majority of independents now back stricter gun laws.

Whether the Newtown shooting -- in which 20 first graders and 6 adults were killed -- will have a long-term effect on public opinion of gun laws is hard to assess just a month after the rampage. But unlike the smaller increases in support for gun control immediately after other mass shootings, including after the 2011 shooting in Tucson that severely wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the latest polling results suggest a deeper, and possibly more resonating, shift.

In terms of specific gun proposals being considered, the poll found even wider support, including among gun owners.

Yet the paper buried more conservative-friendly findings in the last two paragraphs, including the  idea, raised by media-maligned NRA president Wayne LaPierre, of more armed guards in schools.

Despite the higher support for stricter gun laws, many Americans do not think the changes would be very effective at deterring violence. While most Americans, 53 percent, said stricter gun laws would help prevent gun violence, about a quarter said they would help a lot.

Other steps were seen as being potentially more effective. About three-quarters of those surveyed said that having more police officers or armed security guards would help prevent mass shootings in public places. And more than 8 in 10 said better mental health screening and treatment would help prevent gun violence.

Violence in popular culture is seen by a large majority of Americans, 75 percent, as contributing to gun violence in the United States, including about 4 in 10 who say it contributes a lot.  

Those findings didn't make the Times' graphic, which focused on favorable responses to the questions on gun restrictions.

•    A nationwide ban on semiautomatic weapons?

•    A ban on the sale of high capacity magazines?

•    A national database of gun sales?