(Photo: Reuters / Brian Blanco)
Nearly two-thirds of Americans, or 64 percent of those asked in a recent poll, believe Casey Anthony definitely or probably murdered her daughter.
The poll was conducted by USA Today/Gallup after Anthony was acquitted on Tuesday of first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
The Casey Anthony case continues to grip the nation with protests and debates, personal interviews, special tributes to Caylee, and alleged death threats directed at the Anthony family.
According to the poll of 1,010 adults, women are much more likely than men to believe the murder charges against Anthony and to be upset by the not-guilty verdict.
“Women were more than twice as likely as men, 28 percent vs. 11 percent, to think Anthony definitely murdered 2-year-old Caylee. Twenty-seven percent of women said they were angry about the verdict, compared with 9 percent of men.”
Legal analysts argue about what caused the death of Caylee Anthony, whose remains were found in the woods in Florida in December 2008, and jurors are even chiming in to explain their unpopular decision to acquit Anthony.
Jennifer Ford, who was juror number three, told ABC News that she and the other jurors “cried and were sick to their stomachs after voting to acquit Casey Anthony of the charges.”
"I did not say she was innocent," Ford said in the interview.
"I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be."
Ford did say that Anthony was a "pathological liar" but said "bad behavior is not enough to prove a crime" and her actions could be blamed on her family dynamic.
The USA Today poll brings up a broader question about polling reliability and public opinion.
Legal analysts are debating about whether or not poll respondents can accurately predict future opinions and if polls are actually reliable.
“Not always,” said CBS polling director Kathy Frankovic in an e-mail.
Frankovic used one example from the Clinton administration when Republican impeachment proceedings were being televised.
She said the public felt one way before the event happened, and in the end felt another way entirely.
“CBS News asked a national sample in the week leading up to the House impeachment vote what they wanted if the House voted to impeach Bill Clinton, and a sizable majority said they would then want him to resign,” Frankovic recalled.
“We called many of those same people back after the impeachment vote was taken, and only about a third supported resignation.”
The USA Today poll found that half of Americans followed news of the verdict very or somewhat closely.
Some legal analysts question how many people have changed their minds about Anthony's acquittal since the beginning of the trial.
The Huffington Post polling editor Mark Blumenthal said opinions are fickle, given that “different phrasings have elicited different responses.”
“As a general rule, when small, subtle changes in wording produce strange or unexpected differences, the culprit is usually fleeting reactions that are not grounded in strongly held opinions,” Blumenthal said in an interview.
“This is what pollsters call non-attitudes.”
Orange County corrections spokesman Allen Moore told reporters last week that Casey Anthony’s new release date was Sunday, July 17 because of a recalculation of the time she has served.
Media reports say that Anthony will have more than her share of legal problems when she walks out of jail as a free woman. Her legal team told reporters in recent interviews that they fear she is in danger because of the public's strong reaction after the verdict was announced.
“I actually was shocked at the verdict because I followed the case with my entire neighborhood and we all thought she would be found guilty,” said Michelle Litton, a resident of Orange Beach, Ala.
“But, in all sincerity, I hope Casey Anthony has a chance to redeem herself in the public’s eye one day. I pray she will some day have a relationship with God. That will probably be the only thing that saves her. People publicly throwing stones should not judge others because we are all sinners."
Speculations are numerous if Anthony will strike a deal to sell her story and end up living a reckless lifestyle.
Some critics say even with a million dollar deal Anthony’s future isn't very bright because of overall public opinion.
Jane Velez-Mitchell, television journalist and author, voiced her doubts about Casey Anthony becoming a millionaire by selling the story of the murder of her child, in one of her recent shows.
She cited the example of O.J. Simpson after he was acquitted in the killing of his ex-wife and her friend.
“His book, If I Did It, became a publishing fiasco in 2006. The book and a TV special were later canceled, and publisher Judith Regan lost her job,” Velez-Mitchell reported.