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Poll: Wide Gap Between Races On Trayvon Martin Killing

The poll mentioned below shows a wide divide between Caucasians, African-Americans and Hispanics in their perspectives of the Trayvon Martin killing. The poll results are not surprising given the vastly different life experiences of each of these groups. What is more interesting to me though is whether there has been any polling on whether political ideology affects the views of the relative culpability of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Based upon my own cursory review of a wide variety of left and right leaning websites, I have been somewhat surprised at the polarization in viewpoints between self-described liberals and conservatives. It is as if liberals and conservatives are looking at this case through a markedly different lens.

To see the stark differences, take a look at the comment sections over at National Review Online and Daily Kos. Liberals consistently side with Trayvon Martin, believing his death unjustified and fault law enforcement for not immediately prosecuting George Zimmerman. Conversely, conservatives largely believe that George Zimmerman used justifiable force in self-defense and his arrest yesterday was not supported by the facts, but rather to appease an angry mob. Or is the issue of race and political ideology so intertwined that this kind of polarization should be expected?

Americans are deeply divided by race over the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, with 91 percent of African Americans saying he was unjustly killed while just 35 percent of whites thought so, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Thursday.

Fifty-nine percent of Hispanics believe that Martin was innocent and unjustly killed six weeks ago, according to the online poll of 1,922 Americans, conducted Monday through Thursday.

In a sign of how riveted Americans have been by the case, 93 percent of those surveyed said they were aware of the shooting, which set off heated debates over race, gun control and crime.

“African Americans have a significantly different perspective on the whole incident than white Americans or Hispanic Americans,” said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson. “This incident is one of the clearest splits we’ve seen between whites and blacks.”


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