The Lookout

Poll shows big racial divide in opinion on Trayvon Martin case

Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News
The Lookout

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A "Justice for Trayvon" march in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, John Autey)

Americans are sharply divided by race in their opinion of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Florida by a Hispanic neighborhood watchman.

A Gallup/USA Today poll finds that most black Americans (73 percent) think Trayvon Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, would have been arrested if Martin had been white. Only 33 percent of non-Hispanic white people said the same thing.

The racial divide on Zimmerman's guilt was also big: 51 percent of black people said Zimmerman is "definitely guilty" based on the information available, compared to only 10 percent of whites. About 20 percent of both whites and blacks said Zimmerman was "probably guilty."

Zimmerman told police that he was following Martin because he looked "suspicious" when the unarmed 17-year-old then attacked him. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense. He hasn't been charged. Martin's family says Zimmerman followed and then attacked and shot Martin in an act of vigilante policing.

An earlier Pew Research Center poll found that only 16 percent of black people said there had been too much media coverage of the shooting, compared to 43 percent of white people. The Gallup poll of more than 3,000 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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