The Washington Post and ABC News have released a poll about the public’s reaction to the Zimmerman verdict. The results of the poll are not that surprising, but they are disappointing. The poll suggests a deeply divided country in which people’s perspective on the verdict is shaped largely by ideology and experience. Politico reports:
Eighty-six percent of African-Americans disapproved of the not guilty verdict with just 9 percent approving… That’s compared with 51 percent of whites who supported the verdict and 31 percent who disapproved.
Reactions to the verdict also split across party lines, with 22 percent of Democrats approving of the verdict and 62 percent disapproving, while 65 percent of Republicans approve of the verdict compared with just 20 percent who disapprove.
Interestingly, the poll also shows that 59% of white evangelical Protestants approved while 44% of those with no religion disapproved. Read the rest of the poll results here.
Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard)
I heard Greta from Fox News discussing this with someone and she made an excellent point. The vast majority of people who are protesting the jury’s decision (or cheering it) were not in the courtroom and did not see and hear all the evidence that the jury did. They are basing their opinions on incomplete information. We should view these survey results in light of that fact.
My take is that there are 2 different perceptions going on and these are based on differing history and life of people. For whites and the well off, civil authority has been used as a benefit; but for blacks and the less well off, civil authority has been used as a tool of oppression. In other words, one’s experiences with civil authority colors our expectations and our reactions. And each of these different groups needs to listen to the other.
It is very disappointing but I’m going to choose to take comfort in the fact that reactions are much less polarized than were the reactions to the OJ and Rodney King trials. As Obama said we’re not yet a perfect Union but we’re making progress toward a MORE perfect Union. To paraphrase the spiritual, “God ain’t done with US yet.”
Forums like this & others will hopefully spark thoughtful conversations.
I’d like to see a regression analysis. In particular, I wonder how much of one’s position on the case is determined by race and how much is determined by political ideology. For instance, black Americans heavily skew Democrat; perhaps their widespread belief that the case was decided wrongly stems more from political ideology than race?