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. Wake up People!

    Jesse......sweetie. You do know President Obama has only been in office 5 years not 8. But you're right the racists have come out in full force these past 5 years and treated him and his family like dirt.

    July 22, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. FIFY

    Generational divide. Younger, less educated clueless people thought Zimmerman was guilty.

    July 22, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Whitehispanicphobia

    Can someone please explain to me what a "White-Hispanic" is? This a term that CNN has coined. Evidently, I should be in fear of them.

    July 22, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. 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.

    July 22, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Uncle Rufus

    Thug Trayvon could have avoided trouble but chose to assault Zimmerman instead. Then he got shot by a guy who feared for his life. Boo feaking hoo.

    July 22, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Uncle Rufus

    Thug Trayvon could have avoided trouble but chose to assault Zimmerman instead. Then he got shot by a guy who feared for his life. Boo freaking hoo.

    July 22, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. k. franks

    What the hell kind of name is "Trayvon"?

    July 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. mbsmith91

    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.

    July 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. mbsmith91

    Funny how I typed wasn't defending himself but it shows as was defending himself.

    July 22, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. 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.

    July 22, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Woman In California - Boycott Florida

    Zimmerman has a long history of helping the African American community. One can't help but get the feeling that CNN is distorting the Facts on this story to a Large extend. Come on, bloodshed isn't worth Ratings

    We will all remember "the help" George gave us for many years to come. Should he ever try to "help" us again, we will remember how he helped Trayvon Martin and thank him accordingly.

    July 22, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. GnatB

    What this tells me is that apparently 86% of the black population and 49% of the white population still need to finish high school (or at least a civics class) and learn how the legal system works.

    There really wasn't any way, based on the evidence provided at the trial, that the jury could have found any different. There simply wasn't any evidence to support the prosecutions charge of 2nd degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt. Maybe Zimmerman killed Trayvon with Hate/Malice. Maybe he didn't. Nothing presented in court even came CLOSE to proving it beyonda reasonable doubt.

    July 22, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Woman In California - Boycott Florida

    @ Marie MD

    Perfect slogan "Gun Shine State". That's exactly what it is.
    Thank you.

    July 22, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "I guess Obama forgot that Chicago is one of the most dangerous cities in the world "

    Rate of gun death (rounded):

    Alaska: 20 per 100,000
    Louisiana: 19.5 per 100,000
    Wyoming: 18.8 per 100,000
    Arizona: 18
    Nevada: 17.3
    Mississippi: 17.3
    New Mexico: 16.6
    Arkansas: 16.3
    Alabama: 16.2

    CHICAGO: 15.8

    You were saying?

    July 22, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. just sayin

    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.

    no, to me this is all about self defense, not race. but since the race hustlers want to turn this into a discussion about race i will point out some of the consequences of turning this clear cut case of self defense into some sort of racial attack. this non-stop race baiting on the left has got to stop. it has become an obsession that permeates every discussion. now we have looney sniify in here saying the word urban is some sort of racist dog whistle.

    July 22, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. gord

    keep fighting with each other america ,and get more guns

    July 22, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. just sayin

    Rudy NYC
    EVIDENCE. One person testified seeing that Martin was on top, while three testified seeing Zimmerman was on top

    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?

    July 22, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    An almost 50-50 spli in acknowledging, whether black, white, hispanic, or other that this verdict was a travesty.
    There IS hope for my country in spite of what the knuckle-heads on this thread would have you think.
    And as soon as these knuckle-heads die off and or stop reproducing the better off my country will be.

    July 22, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Zippy

    So 3 point error in the poll, assume the missing 18 points were to afraid to admit their true feelings...62% believe the jury got it right.

    July 22, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. tom l.

    "He was told not to the follow the kid. He did. he accosted him;"

    Clearly, GZ should not have followed TM and this wouldn't have happened. But it is disingenuous and wrong to make up stuff and then state them as "facts". There is absolutely zero proof or evidence that GZ accosted or even confronted TM.

    July 22, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    The issue here, is that black America is being irrational.
    Read the story Rick, America isn't 46% Black. The only irrational people are the ones who think Zimmerman was some sort of a victim-after he initiated the contact-against police advice.

    July 22, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. 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!

    July 22, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "and you have absolutely no evidence that zimmerman approached martin at any time "

    Sure we do. You just admitted he was following him. The guy had a habit of sitting out in his car to be the Batman and do the "neighborhood watch". His statements to the 911 dispatcher and her reaction to them, telling him not to follow the kid. The lies he was caught in. His changing story. All of it is evidence that he was more likely to have approached Martin than the other way around. The only evidence that Martin approached Zimmerman was Zimmerman's changing story. Pretty convenient that he got to shoot the only person who could contradict it and then use their absence from the witness stand to claim it with impunity.

    July 22, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. rs

    no, to me this is all about self defense, not race. but since the race hustlers want to turn this into a discussion about race i will point out some of the consequences of turning this clear cut case of self defense into some sort of racial attack.
    Rick, I repeat: Mr. Martin neither committed or was accused of a crime- what gave Mr. Zimmerman the right to harass him? Zimmerman initiated the contact- against a kid on a phone, who now happens to be dead. If Zimmerman had left him alone, Mr. Martin would be alive, and 46% of America wouldn't think Zimmerman got away with murder.

    July 22, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. just sayin

    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.

    if that is true he could have just shot martin when martin doulbed back and circled zimmerman's truck while he sat in it.

    but this calls out another great point. martin was the first one to approach zimmeran while he sat in his truck and this was after he knew he was being followed. now i believe that martin was trying to provoke an altercation by doing so.

    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.

    July 22, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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