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Poll: One-third of teens fear copycat school shootings


April 30, 1999
Web posted at: 5:51 p.m. EDT (2151 GMT)

(CNN) -- One-third of the teen-agers who responded to a recent CNN/Time poll said that they think an incident similar to the shooting in Littleton, Colorado, is likely to occur in their own schools and more than half the respondents said that the Littleton massacre has given ideas to troubled students in their own schools to try something similar.

One in five of the respondents said they know someone their age who has talked about committing a serious act of violence at their school, such as shooting a student or setting off a bomb. Most of those teens said they never told an adult about the talk of violent behavior.

Nearly 90 percent of the teens who responded to the poll described the easy availability of guns as very, or somewhat, responsible for school shootings. The Internet was considered a factor by 75 percent of the respondents while 67 percent named parents as responsible.

Violence on television and in music was blamed by 66 percent of the respondents, followed by violence in video games by 56 percent.

When compared to the previous generation of teens (that is, people born in 1976 to 1980, who were between 13 and 17 years old in 1993), today's teens are more optimistic and are slightly more likely to feel that their parents give them the right amount of attention. Eighty-one percent of the teens in the recent poll said that things are going very well or fairly well for teen-agers and young adults, compared to 72 percent of teens in 1993.

The number of teens with a favorable opinion of President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton has dropped 10 percent for each since February. While the number of those with unfavorable views of the First Couple have not increased, the number of respondents who said they are unsure about the Clintons has grown, indicating that some teens have developed second thoughts since February.

Teens polled in 1993 responded 63 percent in favor of President Clinton, while teens in the recent poll gave him a 38 percent favorable rating.

The poll was conducted April 27-29 and included interviews with 409 teen-agers between the ages of 13 and 17. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percent.

Following are the complete results.

What is the likelihood of a shooting incident in your school?
Likely 33%
Not likely 66
Has the Littleton incident given ideas to kids in your school?
Yes 61%
No 36
Do you know someone who has talked about shooting or bombing at your school?
Yes 21%
No 79
Yes, and told an adult 8
Yes, did not tell adult 13
Have you ever thought about shooting or bombing at your school?
Yes 3%
No 97
What factors are responsible for school shootings
Availability of guns 87%
Internet 75
Parents 67
Schools 60
Violence in TV/music 66
Violence in video games 56
Violence in the news 55
I think things are generally going well for teen-agers
Today's teens 81%
1993 teens 72
My parents give me the right amount of attention
Today's teens 82%
1993 teens 71

Teens' opinion of Bill Clinton
  Now February
Favorable 38% 48%
Unfavorable 52 50
Teens' opinion of Hillary Clinton
  Now February
Favorable 60% 70%
Unfavorable 21 21

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