Obama's response to Arizona shooting rated higher than Palin's, poll says

An overwhelming majority of the public approves of President Obama's handling of the Arizona shooting rampage, while only three in 10 approve of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's response.

Seventy-eight percent — including 71 percent of Republicans — said in an ABC News/Washington Post poll that Obama responded well to the shooting that killed six and wounded 13, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D). By comparison, 30 percent approved of Palin's conduct and 46 percent disapproved of it, including fewer than half of Republicans (48 percent).

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The poll shows a vast gap in the perception of the roles Obama and Palin have played in the aftermath of the shootings, which has dominated the political landscape for more than a week.

Obama traveled to Tucson, Ariz., last week to deliver a speech at a memorial service for the victims and survivors of the shooting spree allegedly carried out by 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. The president used his speech to remember the victims and call for greater civility in politics.

On the same day, Palin accused the media of committing "blood libel" for connecting her political rhetoric to the actions of the alleged gunman. Her comments kicked off a media firestorm, which continued into Monday when she appeared on Fox News's "Hannity" show to respond to criticism of her.

Leaders in Congress postponed official business on Capitol Hill last week due to the shooting, but lawmakers are expected to take up their agenda starting Tuesday.

Fifty-five percent said they were optimistic that Obama and and congressional Republicans can work together, up from 48 percent in an ABC/Yahoo poll on Jan. 5. But one of the first items expected to be brought up is a contentious bill that would repeal Obama's healthcare law.

The poll for ABC News and The Washington Post is based on surveys of 1,053 adults nationally between Jan 13-16. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.