While we continue to sift through the evidence released in the Trayvon Martin case, Americans are becoming more convinced that his killer, George Zimmerman, acted in self-defense.
According to a new Rasmussen survey, 24 percent of American Adults still believe that Zimmerman should be found guilty of murder. But that’s down from 33 percent in late March when the case first began to draw national headlines, and 30 percent in early April.
Fast forward almost three months later and 40 percent now think Zimmerman acted in self-defense, which is up 25 points from 15 percent in March and up 16 points from 24 percent last month. 36 percent remain undecided, compared to 55 percent two months ago.
When it comes to race, which is normally the great divider, 47 percent of black adults still feel Zimmerman should be found guilty of murdering Trayvon, compared to 55 percent in March. Now close to 40 percent of blacks think Zimmerman acted in self-defense, while whites and adults of other races tend to believe the shooter acted in self-defense.
According to Rasmussen:
Only 20% of all adults now think Zimmerman will be found guilty of murder, down 13 points from 33% in April just after he was officially charged.
Thirty-nine percent (39%) believe the legal system will determine that he acted in self-defense, up from 25% last month. Forty-one percent (41%), however, still are not sure.
The survey of 1,000 Adults nationwide was conducted on May 19-20, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Thirty-nine percent (39%) of Americans favor the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to investigate the Martin shooting as a possible hate crime.
But a plurality (45%) is opposed to the Justice Department investigation. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure about it.
Eighty-four percent (84%) of adults correctly recognize that the victim of the shooting was black. Sixty-five percent (65%) know that the shooter is Hispanic, but 20% still incorrectly believe he is white. Recognition that Martin was black and Zimmerman Hispanic continues to rise with each survey.
But Americans aren’t following the story quite as closely as they were previously. Sixty-seven percent (67%) say they are following news about the shooting incident in Florida at least somewhat closely, with 33% who are following Very Closely. But the overall figure is down from 78% in the two previous surveys.
Race has been a driving force in this case and the Rasmussen survey indicates that divide, as blacks continue to follow the Trayvon story more closely than whites, while those of other races believe more strongly than women that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.
What do you think?