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How Race Determines the Reaction to the Zimmerman Verdict

Zimmerman verdict poll: Stark reaction by race

The not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman has produced dramatically different reactions among Blacks and Whites, with African Americans overwhelmingly disapproving of the jury’s decision and a bare majority of Whites saying they approve of the outcome, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The jury’s decision in the case that involved the killing of Black teenager Trayvon Martin continues to roil the country, with protests, demonstrations, calls for federal intervention and a nonstop debate about the degree to which race played a role in the shooting and in the trial.

The new survey underscores not only the gap between Whites and Blacks, but also how passionate many African Americans are about the case. Among African Americans, 86 percent say they disapprove of the verdict — with almost all of them saying they strongly disapprove — and 87 percent saying the shooting was unjustified. In contrast, 51 percent of Whites say they approve of the verdict while just 31 percent disapprove.

There is also a partisan overlay to the reaction among Whites: 70 percent of White Republicans but only 30 percent of White Democrats approve of the verdict. Among all Whites, one-third say the shooting was unjustified, one-third say it was justified and the other third say they didn’t know enough to have an opinion.


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