Americans divided over Zimmerman verdict, poll finds
July 22nd, 2013
01:37 PM ET
7 years 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. dwight

    I am white-German and have many white-Hispanic friends as well as many white-black friends. President Obama is a black-white man.

    July 22, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Truth

    From Trayvon Martin's friend Jeantel:
    Florida’s star witness in the George Zimmerman trial, Rachel Jeantel, said on Wednesday that she believes her deceased friend Trayvon Martin threw the first punch that ultimately lead to his death.
    “In my mind… Trayvon. It was Trayvon,” the 19-year-old told HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill, when he asked who swung first.
    Getting out of the car is not illegal. Walking around is not illegal.
    Coming back to physically assault an individual because you think he is a gay rapist, now that's illegal...

    July 22, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Cannot win

    From what I have read from folks posting on this, if you believe George Zimmerman wasnt guilty of second degree murder and a racist, that makes you a racist. If you are not sure if you are a racist, see above test.

    This is a really sad.

    July 22, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    @carolyn, not afraid of " people" as you call them like Trayvon and neither am I afraid of brainless thugs like georgie boy but in real life I have more Black friends whom I admire than thugs like the murderer.
    It's not about skin color. It's about what you have done with your life and what good you bring to other's lives.
    This gm is a murderer whether he thinks he is white, Hispanic or a human being.

    July 22, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    A JURY found him NOT GUILTY!!!
    Naive much?
    Run OJ!! Run!!!

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

    Would you all be applauding "Stand Your Ground" if Martin had successfully "defended" himself by killing Zimmerman? After all, Zimmerman initiated the contact- against advice of the police.

    July 22, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. tom l.

    "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."

    Let's save the ad hominem attacks and stick to the facts. It's so important that we don't just make stuff up. There is no evidence whatsoever that GZ confronted TM. None. It is merely you stating that based on what you think might have happened.

    Plus, GZ, if he is a racist, is really really bad at being a racist. He tutored troubled African American youths, he voted for Obama twice and he's a democrat.

    July 22, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Woman In California - Boycott Florida

    @ k. Franks
    What the hell kind of name is "Trayvon"?

    Although I was taught to carefully research a name before giving it to my children, Trayvon was his name. Are you now putting his name on trial? Then again, why not – this was never about George murdering an unarmed teenager anyway.

    July 22, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. rs

    Had Trayvon stayed with his step-mother, none of this would have happened.
    Sorry, Mr. Martin's killing cannot be justified this way. He committed no crime and was accused of no crime until this "neighborhood watchman" initiated contact.

    July 22, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. ryche

    Yeah, hey it's cool, except that Mr. Martin DIDN'T COMMIT A CRIME, or is that simply too inconvenient for you? If holding racist views were a crime- you'd be in trouble.


    And here folks is why we on the right laugh at you on the left.. how you just love to rewrite facts to fit your narative.. Martin did not commit a crime???? really.. So sucker punching someone and than sitting on top of them bashing their head into the ground is not a crime anymore???? really??? the stupidity of the left knows no bounds..

    July 22, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. rs

    Yeah, hey it's cool, except that Mr. Martin DIDN'T COMMIT A CRIME, or is that simply too inconvenient for you? If holding racist views were a crime- you'd be in trouble.........................Sorry RS, Martin would have been convicted of assault. He was defending himself so breaking someone's nose and repeatedly beating their head on the concrete is a crime.
    So, because of a crime HE MIGHT commit, Zimmerman was justified in killing an unarmed teenager? Do you listen to yourself? Maybe Zimmerman should have minded his own damn business!

    July 22, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    @woman in CA, just like people who think they need a gun to feel manly (or womanly) just think about what Florida looks like and why it needs everyone to carry a gun.

    July 22, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. DaveinIL

    The only poll that counts is the jury and they came out 100% for not guilty. Six women, most of whom have children, heard the evidence, considered the law and made a decision. To accept the opinion of the mob chanting "justice for Trayvon" you have to assume they were all stup1d, unfeeling rac1sts who would sacrifice their own young rather than convict a "white hispanic" of murder. And Tavis Smilley wonders why people have "contempt"?

    July 22, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Independent

    Rudy NYC

    i guess you didn't look at the evidence did you? it is very easily explained. the holster was a simple slip on mean't to go on the belt or pants top. they can slide. it can work its way to the front (top) if it is worked by say a leg strandling you.

    but the better question is that martin knew he was being watched so why didn't he simply run to his destination? it was very close to where this happened. zimmerman lost sight of him when he turned down this walkway, in the dark. the only reason that martin ended up any place close to zimmerman was because he put himself there. And the local police knew that, and the local DAs knew that which is why he was not charged and his self defense made sense.
    Seriously? George Zimmerman testified during his interrogation that the holster was INSIDE of his pants' waistband, which was under a shirt and a jacket. He should have shot himself before he fully withdrew the gun because it had no safety lock on the trigger. No, Zimmerman approached Martin with the gun already drawn. There is no way he pulled out of is pants laying flat on his back. The ground should have blocked his elbow, and he should have shot himself in the process.

    Why didn't Martin run home? Who in their right mind would lead someone following you to where you live? Even still, maybe Martin couldn't go anywhere because Zimmerman pulled a gun on him. We have only Zimmerman's words that Martin doubled back and all the rest. I say all of that is a complete lie. Zimmerman confronted him with a drawn handgun and an altercation ensued.
    WOW using your imagination on that one aren't you??? Pathetic!!!! LOL

    July 22, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. California Gary

    We all have our theories about how it went down, here's mine: I think GZ already had the gun out when the two came face to face (no way he gets it out if TM was on top of him beating his head into the ground). TM, fearing for his life, throws a punch to the face, knocking GZ on his back (when he hits his head slightly against the concrete) and jumps on him trying to take the gun away (the witness said he saw TM on top swinging his arms, but did not hear the punches landing). During the struggle for the gun, it goes off, striking TM in the chest. If it went down like GZ said it did, why would he not take the stand and tell his story? No, he had the gun out and the one that was fighting in self defense was TM.......fighting for his life. Just my theory of course........but I did watch an awful lot of that trial and this is the conclusion the evidence led me to. If the law there required the verdict that was given, then the law needs to be changed. But I can tell you this: if it had been a white unarmed teen gunned down by a black male adult.......the outcome would have been much different.......that's just the way it is down South.

    July 22, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Independent

    Marie MD

    @tom I, why wasn't the killer's back grass stained or those head "wounds" larger? Right, I guess he lied. Every time they questioned him he kept changing his story. He wanted the accolades but he realized he murderered a kid. Not much hero worship about that is there?
    I am sure his daddy judge will keep him safe. Even his own brother couldn't keep his trap shut long enough to talk about people who might go after his brother as vigilantes. Duh!
    Oh that is hilarious, the stains or wounds aren't big enough.....reach farther, you might find something at least you believe, keep going…. LOL

    July 22, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. deb

    We had 5 burlaries in my neighborhoos just last week... I wish we had a George Zimmerman on call... Sure am tired of hearing my neighbors being robbed... Chances are I am on the list... sick of these thugs...

    July 22, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Wake up People!

    Or a hispanic with a white father. And a white name. He's not called Jorge is he??

    July 22, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. sly

    Thank God those 4 folks in the fender bender weren't black, or Georgie would've stood his ground and slashed their throats.

    Didn't he once attack a policeman, and get off since his dad is a judge? What a creep.

    July 22, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. deb

    my son looks hispanic/white.. but, he is Italian and Irish...

    July 22, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. ST

    Justice system which doesn't give any justice is good for nothing. How can anyone walk away without getting punished by claiming ones life. And still they punish those who steal because they are hungry.

    July 22, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. us_1776

    Castle Doctrine, fine. No retreat in your own home.

    ANYWHERE else you must first retreat if possible before using deadly force.


    July 22, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Angie

    Hispanics can be white, black, Indian, etc. talk about racism, Americans think all Hispanics look alike – we don't. Both my parents were born in Spain and I was born in Cuba. My sisters and I have blonde hair and blue eyes.. People are always shocked when they find out that we are Hispanics. George Zimmerman is Hispanic also, and he is white.

    July 22, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. echo

    A judge sentenced Marissa Alexander to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband. Angela Corey, who oversaw the prosecution of Zimmerman. I just want to know why one went to jail and the other did not under the same stand your ground law.

    July 22, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Pudding

    Why are the blacks not carrying on about all the blacks that kill other defenseless blacks? Why are people not outraged about 3 black teenagers shooting a defenseless baby while his mother was strolling him down the street in GA? There are many killings everyday with no news reported about it. Blacks are the ones in this country that are racist. Even the half whilte/half black prez is racist ... probably mad that he didn't turn out white.

    July 22, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11