(Week of 3/24/2012) Nearly nine in ten Americans have heard about the Florida shooting death of the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin; over three in five in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll think the shooter, George Zimmerman, should be arrested and tried for murder.
In most groups a majority or near-majority favor arrest and trial, though there are some differences. 76% of Democrats what Zimmerman arrested compared with 43% of Republicans. But few Republicans don’t want Zimmerman arrested. 37% say they simply don’t know enough about the case to say. A majority of whites (58%) favor arrest, but even more blacks (83%) do. Martin was an African-American.
This one case, however, doesn’t seem to affect the public’s attitudes about the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law, as most Americans support it — at least when it comes to attacks with the home. 31% support it overall, and an additional 35% would support its use within the home. Just 17% say they oppose the law.
More Democrats (25%) oppose the law, as do 44% of African-Americans. A slightly lower percentage of many African-Americans support the law — but most of those would apply it only to attacks within a person’s home.
41% of the public say they feel more threatened by crime now than they five years ago. Just 7% feel less threatened. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to feel more threatened; women more likely than men; older adults more than younger adults. Over half of African-Americans in this poll say they feel more threatened by crime today than they did five years ago. However, crime rates in general have declined since 2007.
Photo source: Press Association