The national furor over the George Zimmerman trial tended to divide along racial lines and a new Quinnipiac poll shows why: there is a radical split along racial lines in the support of the “stand your ground” laws permitting deadly force in self-defense, with a majority of whites supporting the law and a majority of blacks opposing it.
The Quinnipiac University poll revealed that white voters support “stand your ground” laws by a margin of 57 percent to 37 percent, while black voters oppose them by the same margin. As for political divisions, Republicans support the laws 75 percent to 19 percent, while Democrats oppose them 62 percent to 32 percent.
Overall, the nation backed the laws by a margin of 53 percent to 40 percent. More than 30 states have such laws on the books.
The poll mirrored previous polls showing a majority of whites supporting George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin, while a majority of blacks opposed it.
While 86 percent of black people are dissatisfied with Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center, just 30 percent of whites were dissatisfied—and a much higher percentage, 49 percent, said they were satisfied with the verdict.
Just 5 percent of blacks were satisfied with the verdict, according to the Pew Center poll of 1,480 adults conducted July 17-21th.
In another poll sponsored by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, it is clear that race relations in the U.S. have taken a hit in the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict.
In response to the acquittal, 71 percent of African-Americans and 48 percent of Democrats say the trial decreased their confidence in the legal system. But only 24 percent of whites and just 13 percent of Republicans say the same thing. As for Latinos, 35 percent said the trial decreased their confidence in the legal system.
When asked to respond to the famous line by Dr. Martin Luther King, just 19 percent of African-Americans and 46 percent of Democrats think Americans are judged by the ‘content of their character’ rather than by their skin color. By comparison, 54 percent of Latinos, 59 percent of whites and 65 percent of Republicans believe this.
“‘Stand your ground’ splits the country sharply along political, general and racial lines,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.
There were also racial divisions in responses to a question about the federal government providing a bailout for Detroit—black voters backed such a move by 57 percent to 36 percent and white voters opposed it 63 percent to 26 percent. Overall, 57 percent oppose a Detroit bailout compared with 33 percent who support it.
U.S. lawmakers have dismissed the possibility of federal aid to Detroit, which on July 18 became the largest American city to declare bankruptcy.