- (Photo: AP/Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, File)
About 77 percent of American voters said they believed that prayer literally helped Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords survive the Tucson shooting, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.
Only 17 percent didn't believed prayer played a role. The remaining six percent were unsure.
Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8 while at a constituent meeting outside a Tucson Safeway.
The 40-year-old congresswoman is expected to be moved to a rehabilitation center in Houston as early as Friday.
On Thursday, Giffords' doctors said she moved her lips but they were not certain whether it was an attempt to speak. Her neurosurgeon said she was able to stand with assistance earlier this week and that it was possible she could walk in two months.
Those who believe prayer helped saved Giffords were most likely white born-again Christians (95 percent), those who regularly attend religious services (91 percent) and blacks (91 percent), the Fox News poll showed.
Eighty-four percent of Republicans agreed that prayer saved her life compared with 74 percent of Democrats.
Women were also more likely than men to attribute Giffords' survival to prayer.
A federal grand jury has indicted Jared Loughner in the assassination attempt against Giffords and in the attempted murder of two of her aides. The federal case against the 22-year-old suspected shooter is expected to get underway Monday.
When asked whether they think it would be better if Loughner was declared insane and sent to a mental institution, or if he was tried and, if convicted, faced the death penalty, 60 percent of voters chose the latter. The other 25 percent chose mental institution and the remaining 15 percent didn’t know.
Meanwhile, at least 7 in 10 voters approved of President Obama's handling of the Tucson shooting. Ten percent expressed disapproval and 19 percent were unsure.
About 17 percent said the tone of political debate has become more civil since the Tucson shooting while 69 percent said it has been about the same.
Nearly four in 10 felt the level of political debate is at a new low and is unnecessarily negative. But at least 5 in 10 said the level of debate is the same as it is always.
The poll also found that nearly half of American voters said they wished last week's memorial service in Tucson was more somber (48 percent). Nineteen percent said they felt comfortable with the clapping and cheering while 33 percent didn't know.
The results were based on a Jan. 18-19 national telephone poll of 900 random registered voters.