Americans divided over Zimmerman verdict, poll finds
July 22nd, 2013
01:37 PM ET
1 year 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. sly

    Typical racist America, still angry that blacks can now vote and marry their white daughters.

    Zimmerman is a thug who has assaulted policemen.
    Zimmerman's dad is a rich judge.

    That's how the white folk roll.

    July 22, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "assume the missing 18 points were to afraid to admit their true feelings"

    Yeah, "unskew those polls!!!!! Mittens in a landslide!!!!"

    July 22, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    CHICAGO: 15.8

    You were saying?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Not a DAMN thing...as usual.

    July 22, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. WillB

    Had Trayvon stayed with his step-mother, none of this would have happened. She raised him. She kept him out of trouble. The trouble for Trayvon only began when she caught his father with another women and kicked him out and the only place to put Trayvon was back with the 1st wife. That's where Trayvon's troubles began.

    July 22, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    But it is disingenuous and wrong to make up stuff and then state them as "facts"
    -------------------------------------------------
    You should've hand-delivered that line in court to Zimmerman.

    July 22, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Independent

    Sniffit

    "Mr. Martin's past behavior suggests that he just as likely could have been the aggressor"

    The evidence showed that GZ stalked the kid, followed him around in his car and on foot, and then instigated their confrontation by approaching him at night while he was minding his own business and walking home. THAT is aggressive behavior. GZ was the aggressor in this situation for those reasons alone. NONE of this would have happened if he didn't have daydreams about being Batman and minded his own god-mn business instead of accosting others on the street who were minding their own business. NONE OF IT. He started it and there's no way around that whatsoever.
    _____________________
    You are completely wrong and evidence PROVES it. A JURY found him NOT GUILTY!!! If the evidence showed that GZ instigated the fight, he would have been found guilty, the EVIDENCE show otherwise!!! None of this would have happened if TM would have simply went home when GZ lost him or if TM would have just told GZ what he was doing and not been hostel and started a fight!!! THAT PROVES TM was the aggressor by your logic!! It is crazy that the liberals have turned this into a conservative vs. democrat now......mind boggling?!?! (I say this based on your MANY other posts not just this one!)

    July 22, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "i contend he did exactly the same thing when zimmeran got out of the truck and went into the alley. martin baited zimmeran by running, figuring he woulkd get out of the car to follow him. but instead of running to his destination, martin hid and lay in wait to ambush zimmerman. that is eaxctly what happened in my opinion. because martin had every opportunity to get to his destination as he was quite a bit ahead of zimmeran when he ran down that alley."
    ===

    Oh brother. Everyone get out your tinfoil hats! It's story time with Captain KKKangaroo!

    July 22, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Carolyn

    Marie MD
    @ Carolyn, not only have I been to Florida I AM from Florida (nothing to be proud since 2000) and don't want to go back there unless I have a military Humvee and an automatic rifle and I don't believe in guns or vigilantes like george boy, the killer of an innocent and unarmed teenager.
    -------
    You may need the military Humvee and the automatic rifle to protect yourself from people like TM and not GZ.

    July 22, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Can someone please explain to me what a "White-Hispanic" is?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Are you serious?
    Hispanic who looks white.
    Duh.

    July 22, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Ben

    Shot here, restrained same place yet Trayvon's body was found a few feet away. Can the dead man walk? beats me. Everybody keep watch the time clock of karma is running just a reminder.

    July 22, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    " If the evidence showed that GZ instigated the fight, he would have been found guilty"

    Not necessarily. The judge refused to give any instruction on the exception to the stand your ground law that says you can't instigate the situation that makes you feel afraid for your life. What that means is that the jury may not have fully understood. We can never know. Juries are also allowed to nullify the law and simply not convict. We can never really know. I don't have to accept the jury's verdict and can disagree with it all I want. Personally, I think there was a bit of nullification involved and, from the idiot juror's interviews on CNN, I'm not even confident she really understood the law she was applying or that she was really even trying to be honest. She wanted a book deal from the get-go...and the best way to sell the book was to create the biggest controversy possible, which meant acquittal in this case.

    July 22, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    will the lies never end rudy???? one person witnessed martin on tope of zimmerman. three other people did not witness or testify that zimmerman was on top of martin. why do you make all this stuff up?
    ------------
    Yes, they did testify Zimmerman was on top. What do you think that they were testifying about in the first place? What did they testify about? I'll tell you. The three people testified they say Zimmerman on top. Why is it so difficult for you to accept that during a scuffle that people can trade positions.

    To hear Zimmerman tell it the alteration would have had to lasted three minutes. How many street fights last three minutes?

    July 22, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. just sayin

    Sniffit

    "i contend he did exactly the same thing when zimmeran got out of the truck and went into the alley. martin baited zimmeran by running, figuring he woulkd get out of the car to follow him. but instead of running to his destination, martin hid and lay in wait to ambush zimmerman. that is eaxctly what happened in my opinion. because martin had every opportunity to get to his destination as he was quite a bit ahead of zimmeran when he ran down that alley."
    ===
    Oh brother. Everyone get out your tinfoil hats! It's story time with Captain KKKangaroo!
    --

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

    fact is that martin was the first person to initiate contact with zimmerman and i contend he did it again after luring zimmerman out of the truck and into a dark alley way.

    now offer something better than your lame name calling or admit that i have bested you in this what if game sniffy.

    July 22, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. eric

    lol, that poll alone shows how racist and disgusting blacks are in this country. 86 blacks disagree with verdict while 51% of whites disagree (right in the middle). Blacks did the same with the election, like 90% voted for Obama... another LOL moment. They ONLY care about race, not about right/wrong or principles.... nothing left to say here.

    July 22, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "CHICAGO: 15.8

    You were saying?
    -----------------
    Not a DAMN thing...as usual."

    Seriously. That was what, 8 or 9 ENTIRE STATES that have a higher gun death rate than the city of Chicago, and they all, strangely, mysteriously, for some unknown and unexplainable reason, also happen to be primarily southern and/or red states with the weakest gun laws in the country.

    July 22, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Ruth Rosenberg

    Carolyn
    Marie MD
    @ Carolyn, not only have I been to Florida I AM from Florida (nothing to be proud since 2000) and don't want to go back there unless I have a military Humvee and an automatic rifle and I don't believe in guns or vigilantes like george boy, the killer of an innocent and unarmed teenager.
    ---
    You may need the military Humvee and the automatic rifle to protect yourself from people like TM and not GZ.
    *******
    That is true. Read some online Florida news outlets. A totally different story than what is being reported in the national media.

    July 22, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Independent

    GOP = Greed Over People

    The point still remains, IF Zimmerman had done as the police directed and stopped following Martin, Martin would be alive today. But, he didn't he started following him on foot.

    Or, as President Obama pointed out, what if Martin felt threatened by being followed, and had a gun and fired first and asked questions later. The Zimmerman family would be the ones with a deceased son.

    Bottom line, vigilante justice is the only thing served by SYG laws, so, lets issue guns to all and just fire the police!
    ___________________________
    Actually, GZ did stop following TIM because he lost him!!! LOL Get your facts straight!!! Did you even look at the evidence presented in court, didn't think so???

    July 22, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. dwight

    Intiated contact is a strong word for someone who was just following. GZ didn't confront nor attack Trayvon. Zimmerman was at his car when attacked, not on the lawn or at the door steps of his father's girlfriends house. There are no defnesive wounds on Trayvon, except for a hole in his chest and many on Zimmerman, which explains how he was attacked.
    Trayvon had THC in his system, which makes you paranoid and excitable, which is why he attacked GZ.
    If Zimmerman had pulled a gun on Treyvon and fired, then he wouldn't have shot him closer than point blank and had gun powder residue on his shirt as well. The evidence shows Treyvon on top of GZ when the gun was fired, along with the grass stains and blood and broken nose. Besides who attacks a person holding a gun on you. You run and hide or just hide.

    July 22, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    A 16 year-old Black KID is stalked, followed and confronted by a full-grown White man at night while walking home.....
    The KID armed with a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea.
    The grown-man armed with a car AND a gun....

    July 22, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Woman In California - Boycott Florida

    @ Carolyn

    My grandparents lived in FL, my parents were born in FL (my father in Sanford of all places) and my mother in Cocoa Beach. I lived in FL for 10 years, my son's were born there and I have many, many family members still living there. I know more about FL than I do about CA. Any more stupid questions?

    July 22, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    If Martin pummeled Zimmerman as Zimmerman claims, then why did the coroner NOT find any of Zimmerman's DNA on Martin's hands?

    July 22, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. Independent

    rs

    Rick McDaniel

    The issue here, is that black America is being irrational. A 17 yr. old is not a "kid". That is their entire argument, and it is simply a lie. 17 yr. old blacks commit more than 10% higher rate of violent crimes, than adult blacks do. That is a statistical fact.
    ________________________
    And just what was Mr. Martin's crime Rick? Why did Mr. Zimmerman have the right to stop him?
    ____________________
    Ummm bashing GZ's head into the concrete, someone following you does NOT give you the right to bash their heads in!!! WOW the ignorance is amazing........what color is the sky is your world?

    July 22, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Mel

    sly
    Typical racist America, still angry that blacks can now vote and marry their white daughters.

    Zimmerman is a thug who has assaulted policemen.
    Zimmerman's dad is a rich judge.

    That's how the white folk roll.
    =======
    Yeah, we are racists. That's Obama got elected twice..

    July 22, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    @Independent: You do realize that Martin was not alive to tell his side of the story, right? All the "evidence" you cite is hearsay, given by a man trying to weasel out of facing the consequences of his crime.

    July 22, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Woman In California - Boycott Florida

    Had Trayvon stayed with his step-mother, none of this would have happened. She raised him. She kept him out of trouble. The trouble for Trayvon only began when she caught his father with another women and kicked him out and the only place to put Trayvon was back with the 1st wife. That's where Trayvon's troubles began.

    -

    And your household is immaculate right? I serisouly doubt your neighbors would agree if asked.

    July 22, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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