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

ISIS Supporter Moved To Jail After Box Cutter Found In His Halfway House Room

Abdullahi Yusuf, 19, had pleaded guilty to charges he tried to leave Minnesota and aid the self-proclaimed Islamic State. He says through his lawyer that the box cutter is not his.


LAPD Says It’s Investigating Bill Cosby Over Sexual Assault Allegations

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck says his department would investigate any sexual assault accusations against Bill Cosby — even past the statute of limitations.


Excellent: Harry Shearer To Return To ‘The Simpsons’ Cast

The man who provides the voice of Mr. Burns and many other characters had threatened to leave the show, which is heading into its 27th season.


Two Die As F-16 Collides With Cessna In Midair Close To Charleston, S.C.

The fighter jet was based at Shaw Air Force Base; its pilot safely ejected. Two people were aboard the civilian Cessna; both are dead, according to the National Transportation Board.


Solar panels gather sunlight in Florida.

Obama Administration Aims To Expand Access To Solar Power

The White House is announcing a series of moves, including installing more solar energy units in federally subsidized housing, low cost loans for homeowners and a program to help renters.


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
Underwriting Payments