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. Whitehispanicphobia

    George Zimmerman should change his name to Ben Ghazi. Then, the news media will never dare mention his name again.

    July 22, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Woman In California - Boycott Florida

    @ Rick

    IF what you say is so upright and true, why don't the jurors reveal their good deed and their sound decision to let "George" go free?

    I'll make it easy for you. They won't because they are coward and they also know they'll NEVER have peace in our society again. So therefore, they asked for court counseling (to make it appear they feel sorrow for Trayvon) really? Many of us know these people were bias and had their minds made up before this trial even started but keep trying to cover up for them. Sooner or later, they will be found out as the misfits they are.

    July 22, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. Mark

    These polls basically show that the further you get from unbiased law the more likely you are to believe the verdict was wrong.
    It also shows that blacks are far more likely to be racially biased the whites.
    Basically just confirms what I already believed.

    July 22, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Jesse

    Agree there is no divide except the one being created by Media and the White house. The past 8 years of white house rhetoric has set race relations back 20 years in this country and it's getting more and more absurd.

    Jay-Z, do you even listen to your own music? You sing about pimping and violence non stop, yet your against it right? It's OK as long as you make a profit on album sales though right?

    I guess Obama forgot that Chicago is one of the most dangerous cities in the world and it's not stand your ground or whites doing the crimes. Mr. Obama needs to sit down and listen to some inner city reformed gang members, they even speak out against his rhetoric.

    July 22, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. rs


    Except Zimmerman isn't white. He's HISPANIC.
    Is it a crime to be Hispanic now?
    Also ignored by the liberal media – Trayvon's completely racist views. His GF testified to it. But hey, it is ok. Everyone thinks Zimmerman is white.
    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.

    July 22, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. OBG

    This poll is useless. Except for allowing CNN to fan the flames of ignorance.

    The verdict is based on law and evidence.

    This poll is based in opinions.

    July 22, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. rs

    just sayin

    blacks, liberals and democrats want to repeal self defense and stand your ground laws and replace them with lay down and die laws. yes, that is what you will be expected to do when attacked by a black person becuase to fight back or to use deadly force is the act of a racist.
    Where do you get this stuff? Do you think the legal concept of "self defense" did not exist prior to "stand your ground"?
    For you this is all about race, and hatred.

    July 22, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. JP

    No actually if a women armed with a gun follows a purported 'rapist', disobeys police requests to leave the person alone, gets out of her car with 'said gun; and finally confronts the 'rapist'... Then she has no right to defend herself.

    When someone ends up dead, only the living's side of the story gets told, no matter how true it is (or isnt). Florida law suggests that it is better to shoot first and explain your fear later. You don't think people see this and will use it to thier advantage? Just wait, this is just the beginning....

    July 22, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Nogoodforamerica

    This country is going to fall, we are too stupid, we have too much anger, we are too flawed. A teenager is dead, and people are so demonic that they are actually happy about it because he's black, and want to praise the man who did it. Racist people, you are telling the world that every angry black man with a gun can kill you teen age children if they have a big enough beef, you are putting you children in danger, there are thousands of blacks with guns who have been beat down by racism have nothing to lose and will gladly kill as many whites as they can, all they need is a reason, and you are giving them one. When not if this happens come back look at your post and then the mirror because you sure as hell will be at fault you stupid, stupid idiot morons.

    July 22, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    So Trayvon didn't have the right to walk down the street unmolested?? Only Zimmerman had rights?? When exactly did it become against the law to walk down the street? And if I'm walking down the street and some creep walks up on me and puts his paws on me, you damn straight I'm going to fight back! I'm sick of hearing the closet racists who think every black male over age 5 is a thug. Zimmerman was the one with the assault against the policemen charge. How did they ever give him a gun in the first place? Oh yeah Pop Zimmerman, the magistrate.

    Please believe if I or any other black assaulted a cop, if they didn't kill us we sure wouldn't get a CCW.

    This case was never supposed to even see the light of day let alone get a conviction in that kangaroo court. The prosecutor should have focused on the rights of the real victim, the dead teenager not the wannabe cop that couldn't pass the cop exam.

    July 22, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Re California Gary

    California Gary, you should't have any trouble understanding anything. The standard is, would a reasonable person in the same position perceive an imminent deadly threat and that the only way to stop that threat is by using deadly force. The EVIDENCE that was presented to the jury was that Martin was on top (forensic bullet wound expert) of Zimmerman in a "ground and pound" position (eye witness) and that Martin was punching Zimmerman in the face and smashing his head into the concrete (pictures).
    EVIDENCE. One person testified seeing that Martin was on top, while three testified seeing Zimmerman was on top. The forensic wound expert testified only to the distance of the shot from the body, and could not say with any certainty what the orientation of the bodies could have been. The lone witness who claims to have seen Martin on top did not testify that he saw punches being thrown to Zimmerman's face when asked by prosecutors.

    A bloody nose is not proof that Martin punched Zimmerman. The defense produced a video showing Martin punching with his left, because the wound is on the right side, despite the fact that Martin was right handed. Despite the fact that Martin had no blood on his hands. Zimmerman stood in the same rain and blood stayed on his head, while Martin was covered.

    I think Zimmerman may punched himself, but it is more likely the bloody nose is a result of them bumping heads as they struggled for conrol of the gun. The cries for "help" on the 911 tape are hard to understand. It is possible that "help" was not the only word being shouted out. Sometimes it sounds more like "gun" than "help".

    July 22, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. mklsgl

    K.I.S.S. Theory: If Trayvon was white, this would've never happened.

    July 22, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What about the spanish mans civil rights
    What about them?
    He was told not to the follow the kid. He did. he accosted him; they fought ; he was probably getting his ass whipped andhe shot the kid in the heart.
    This coming from another spanish person.
    Here's the other thing before ANY of you say that I wasn't there: neither were YOU. The only one that made sure he was alive to tell his concocted story was the person that killed Trayvon.
    The verdict is in, but just like OJ's the verdict is WRONG.

    July 22, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. BBMad

    You would think when they report poll numbers the total of all answers would equal 100 percent. Must be a new Math thing.

    July 22, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Bzarr

    GZ did exactly what he intended to do when he got out of his vehicle. Well not exactly, he intended to shoot the guy from a couple yards away. He is a murderer.

    July 22, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. ceg10

    Trayvon, had the right to answer the way he felt! He was not obligated to answer appropriately. Now if George couldn't handle the response, then he should not have been in the business of stopping strangers and acting like he is mister good shoes. I'm sure that George Zimmerman is guilty; he's a hot head who lied about the facts of what happened. No way was his head being slammed against the pavement multiple times in a fight, in a fight and he was not dazed...??? He lied about the beating with self inflicted wounds to justify his reason. Wake up! Furthermore, a teenager has the right to be a teenager, stop acting like they are suppose to be somebody more mature.. If Trayvon was a white teenager in this high profile trial, I wonder what would be White America's response particularly those conservative republicans including Rush Limbaugh on this matter??? Would it be get over it? I don't thinks so....

    July 22, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. mbsmith91

    An issue that has absolutely nothing to do with race is all about race. Guess who's pulling the race card again?

    July 22, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Cold Cruel Reality

    Trayvon Martin got what he deserved. He was no Skittle carrying child as the media first portrayed him. He assaulted Zimmerman in a dark alley like the thug he was. He thought he had an easy mark and he could surprise him by coming out of the dark. And he almost got away with it, except for the fact that Zimmeran was prepared to protect and defend his life. This should be a lesson to all wanna be gangstas like Martin. Gangstas eventually all end up dead. It is just a matter of time.

    July 22, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. TONE

    The jury on that case were racist like some of you idiots posting here.

    July 22, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Zimmerman helps family out of overturned SUV.

    I'm sure this family is greatful he didn't go to prision.

    Zimmerman is now a hero
    Unless he helped Jesus off the cross NOBODY cares.
    He's still the several-times-police- rejected zero that he was before he killed Trayvon.

    July 22, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Tony

    Athur, if someone like Zimmerman approaches you with a gun, and you fight back like Martin did, you are the one who is standing his ground, not the guy with a gun. Why Martin wanted to fight a guy who had a gun is a different question, but Martin was the one who was standing his ground.

    July 22, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Loe

    Another fake liberal bs poll.

    July 22, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. California

    Does it really surprise anyone that democrats/liberals don't understand the law?

    Not me.

    July 22, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. jen

    i thought all the blacks wanted "was to have their day on court" well you did, the jury has spoken, now move on.and go to work during the day instead of protesting all the time, oh and POTUS stay the heck out of it....your starting a civil war...oh and cnn, stop showing the pictures of a young TM, start showing the 6'2 man posing with a gun

    July 22, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Ed1

    Look at the facts on the Florida Stand Your Ground Law more Blacks have been found not guilty than Whites this was not about race it was about self defense even the FBI concluded there was not civil racial bias in this case.

    The verdict is in not guilty.

    By the way did you see any protesting when OJ was found not guilty no.

    July 22, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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