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

Pope Francis opens the morning session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican, on Saturday.

Vatican Bishops Scrap Opening To Gays, Divorced Members

Earlier this week an interim summary of the synod on family issues included conciliatory language on gays and on the taking of holy communion for divorced church members.


An artist's rendering of the flyby with Mars orbiters taking cover. Note that the image says "spacecraft not to scale."

Mars Probes Give Scientists Box Seats For Rare Comet Flyby

A “mountain-sized” comet known as Siding Spring will pass very close to the red planet, where orbiters from the U.S., Europe and India, hope to get close – but not too close — to the action.


Pro-democracy protesters set up new barricades after riot police retreated from a main road at Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong early Saturday.

Hong Kong Activists Clash With Police, Retake Protest Site

Pro-democracy protesters have replaced barricades in the congested Mong Kong district of the city hours after authorities dismantled the obstacles.


People stand on the island's south shore to feel the winds from approaching Hurricane Gonzalo, in Astwood Park, Bermuda on Friday. The storm has knocked out power to half of the residents of the British island territory.

Hurricane Gonzalo Hits Bermuda; Ana To Skirt Past Hawaii

In the British island territory, Gonzalo has wiped out power to roughly half of the island’s 70,000 inhabitants.


The Supreme Court early Saturday declined to block a Texas Voter ID law for the November election.

Supreme Court Lets Texas Enforce Voter ID Law For Nov. Election

With three justices dissenting, the high court’s ruling effectively blocks a lower federal court decision declaring the law restrictive and unconstitutional.


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