The nation's racial and cultural divides come into stark focus in new polls concerning the Trayvon Martin case. Martin, a black teenager, was shot and killed Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman claimed that he had felt threatened, invoking Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law, which allows citizens to use deadly force rather than retreat in the face of a potentially life-threatening encounter.
A new survey conducted by the Christian Science Monitor and TIPP indicates that twice as many blacks and Hispanics as whites say race played a major role in the shooting death of Martin (73 to 36 percent). The poll also found that those of modest income, Democrats and younger respondents saw race as playing a major role in the case.
Another poll by USA Today/Gallup found similar results. In the survey, blacks were more than twice as likely as non-blacks (72 to 32 percent) to believe George Zimmerman (who is white and Hispanic) is guilty of a crime in the shooting of Martin.