Americans divided over Zimmerman verdict, poll finds
July 22nd, 2013
01:37 PM ET
12 months ago

Americans divided over Zimmerman verdict, poll finds

(CNN) – The not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has Americans divided, with equal numbers saying they approve or disapprove of the verdict, according to a poll released Monday.

The Washington Post/ABC News survey, which showed 41% of Americans approving and 41% disapproving of the jury's ruling, also showed sharp division among Americans in their views of the verdict. For example, 86% of African-Americans disapproved of the "not guilty" finding, while 51% of whites approved.

That closely aligned with a Pew Research Center survey released Monday, which showed 86% of African-Americans disagreeing with the verdict.

In the Washington Post/ABC poll, women - 48% of whom disapproved of the verdict - were more likely than men to hold that sentiment. And younger people also disapproved at higher levels: 50% of those aged 18-39 said they disapproved, while 30% of people over 65 felt the same way.

Sixty-two percent of Democrats disapproved of Zimmerman's acquittal, while 65% of Republicans approved.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012 in what he said was an act of self-defense. His trial drew widespread attention from the nation, much of it focused on the issue of race.

The Pew poll found 52% of respondents saying race was getting more attention in the Zimmerman case than it deserved, while 36% said it was raising important racial issues that need to be discussed.

On the question of whether blacks and other minorities receive equal treatment as whites in the American justice system, Monday's ABC/Washington Post survey showed Americans were split: 45% said they did receive equal treatment, while 50% said they did not.

Asked whether federal civil rights charges should be brought against Zimmerman, 46% said they should not, while 39% thought he should be charged.

The U.S. Justice Department has an open investigation in Zimmerman's case, though Attorney General Eric Holder has spoken in the past about the difficulty in bringing hate crime charges in the case.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted by telephone July 18-21 with 1,002 adults, and the sampling error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Pew’s survey was from 1,480 adults and was taken by telephone July 17-21. The sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Polls
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thank God those 4 folks in the fender bender weren't black, or Georgie would've stood his ground and slashed their throats.
    -------------------------------------------------
    All the while claiming attempted vehicular manslaughter.
    (I can't bring myself to add the prerequisite "LOL").

    July 22, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Sheila

    Now That's What I Want To Name My Son – TRAY VON !!!

    Nice Little Ring To It, huh ?

    July 22, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Ctrygrl

    I am white and old. I approve of the verdict because there was absolutely no proof that the man did not shoot in self defense. That is what the law says there must be proof. I would rather see 10 murderers walk just as this one did than have an innocent person sent to jail because someone thinks they did something not because it was proven. Sometimes people get away with it, especially if they have money for good lawyers.That is the way the law works. Only two people know what actually happened and one of them is dead, we all have our ideas but ideas don't matter in court, or shouldn't.

    July 22, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "the stains or wounds aren't big enough"

    Evidence that the "struggle" was not extremely violent and that the injuries Zimmerman suffered (a) did not comport with what he claimed was taking place (i.e., medical examiner stated they were very minor abrasions and inconsistent with "slamming" on the concrete "repeatedly") and (b) that the injuries were not life threatening at all, which was also from the medical examiner and goes to whether Zimmerman's alleged belief that his life was in danger is reasonable and credible....that kind of evidence, which both the grass stains and the minor head abrasions are, could very well have been used to determine that Zimmerman's belief he was in mortal danger was not credible and that parts of his story weren't matching what the evidence showed, which should have made his story very questionable and could have been used to disregard it and convict him.

    July 22, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Americans think all Hispanics look alike – we don't
    -------------------------------------------------
    You're mostly right in saying that Angie.
    Interestingly enough a lot of Hispanics think we all look alike too.
    You would be surprised the interesting "chismes" (gossip) that I've been privy to on a New York subway because the Latinos next to me didn't think I too was Latina....

    July 22, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...Oh and BTW, my mother's father was born in the north of Madrid. Blond hair, blue eyed.
    NOBODY in the family has yet to surface with both those traits.
    Recessive genes indeed....wink!

    July 22, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "i will take that as an admission that what i stated is entirely plausible since you offer nothing in rebuttal."

    LOL. I don't have to. What you said, on its face, is absurd and just goes to show the lengths to which the racists in this country are willing to go in order to simply fabricate some alternative explanation, entirely unsupported by the facts and evidence, to not just support Zimmerman's claim of self defense, but to actually put TM on trial and find him guilty of actually "deserving" to be shot. I bet you can't even tell the difference between the two things.

    July 22, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    @rinoindependent. I am not reaching. You ever play or sat on wet grass? It leaves stains.
    If this slimeball had not wanted to be the "hero" of the neighborhood this would have never happened. It doesn't look as if he has any remorse from the insanity interview but it was god's plan after all. He would do it again. What do they call people with no conscience? Psycho/Sociopaths!
    BTW, I was approached and intimidated by a young white punk on a skateboard in my "white" and very safe neighborhood walking back from a neighbor's house at night and I was ready to smack the punk with my purse for being stupid as I felt threatened. I guess if I had had a gun I could have shot him instead of saying a few things to him just to see him slink away! He, like georgie, are cowards and bullies who run off when confronted.

    July 22, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh I don't know if Zimmerman was a racist.
    I AM saying that he profiled a kid in a hoodie.
    I AM saying that his story doesn't hold up. AT ALL.
    I AM saying that the prosecutor did a lousy job of "prosecuting".
    I AM saying that if I were acting in defense of my life, like he claimed, no power on earth would keep me off of that bench to testify.
    I AM saying that all we have is his flip-flopping version of events to go by.
    I AM saying that he is a murderer. Plain and simple.

    July 22, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. Theilox

    Did everyone forget about OJ Simpson or what?

    July 22, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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