Nation & World News

Polls Show Wide Racial Gap On Trayvon Martin Case

By Alana Levinson on July 23rd, 2013

Two polls released Monday revealed a dramatic racial gap in public opinion surrounding the Trayvon Martin case, with notable disparities on issues ranging from reaction to the verdict to the need for a national discussion on race.

According to a Pew Research Center poll, 86 percent of African Americans expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict compared to just 30 percent of whites. A Washington Post/ABC News poll reported a similar finding: Just 9 percent of blacks approved of acquitting George Zimmerman of criminal charges in Martin’s death, compared to 51 percent of whites who approved.

The Post/ABC News data also reported that 87 percent of blacks say the shooting was unjustified. Just 33 percent of whites agreed.

Hispanic reaction registered in between, with 16 percent saying the shooting was justified, 34 percent saying it was unjustified and 50 percent reporting they couldn’t say whether the shooting was or wasn’t justified.

The frustration that many Americans have felt over the verdict was reflected in ‘Justice For Trayvon’ rallies that were held in numerous cities over the weekend.

The Pew poll also revealed a significant divide over the level of attention the case received. A huge majority of African Americans (78%) said the case raises important issues about race that need to be discussed, but just less than one-third of whites (28%) agreed.

A small percentage of African Americans (13%) said the issue of race “is getting too much attention;” the percentage of whites saying that, however, was 60 percent.

Reactions to the controversial verdict also broke down along age and political party lines.

The stark poll numbers came against the backdrop of President Obama’s extraordinary remarks on the case Friday, when he spoke in personal terms about Martin and the African American experience.

“In the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away,” he said. “The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.”

The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted by telephone July 18-21 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The Pew Research Center poll was conducted July 17-21 among a national sample of 1,480 adults.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

A Russian capsule that housed a gecko space-sex experiment. The geckos all died.

Russian Space Experiment On Gecko Sex Goes Awry

A returned space capsule was opened to reveal frozen gecko remains inside, disappointing scientists. On the bright side, the fruit flies that were aboard made it.


Cookie Monster and John Oliver anchor a special report on words.

John Oliver And Cookie Monster, On The News Beat

Just in time for the back-to-school season, funny newsman John Oliver and incorrigible consumer Cookie Monster co-anchor a news special on words.


New U.S. Rules Protect Giant Bluefin Tuna

To reduce the number of giant bluefin tuna killed by fishing fleets, the U.S. is putting out new rules about commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the western Atlantic.


In this handout image made available by the photographer American journalist Steven Sotloff (left) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line on June 2, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 near Aleppo, Syria.

Islamic State Claims It Has Beheaded Second American Journalist

The Islamist militant group had threatened to kill Steven Sotloff if the U.S. continued to conduct airstrikes in Iraq. Sotloff’s mother released a video last week pleading for the release of her son.


Celebrity Photo Leak Puts Spotlight On The Cloud, And Security

Publication of private photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities raises new questions about storing personal data online. Apple says its systems weren’t breached.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments