Zimmerman Trial Update Poll: Is the Case About Race, Hate or Justice?

A poll taken in May reveals that the number of people who believe George Zimmerman to be guilty of murder has decreased. As the trial proceeds, many more will make up their minds. But at the end of the day, what do Americans believe the trial is about?

"Its about race," Roxanne Jones stated in a recent blog for CNN. Recalling that the case was originally presented as an "open and shut" case, Jones states: "We have all been duped in the Trayvon Martin case."

The case was clearer last March just after it gathered mass media attention. At least 33 percent of Americans believed that Zimmerman was guilty of murder. Nearly two weeks after the trial began, that number has gone down to 24 percent, according to a Rasmussen telephone survey conducted in May. 40 percent of Americans now believe that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

In addition to the way that the case has played in court, has led some to believe that the Zimmerman trial is about prejudices based on the color of Martin's skin.

"I understand that race still matters deeply in our courtrooms, just as it does in our nation. And there's no getting away from that fact," Jones argued, pointing out that in many cases, the murderer does not have the benefit of the doubt.

Some Americans agree.

"Roxanne Jones is 100% correct.. It is about race," one user wrote in response to the CNN blog.

For others, that point of view is less obvious. 47 percent of African-Americans still believe that Zimmerman is guilty of murder, that number down from 55 percent. 40 percent of black adults now believe that Zimmerman acted in self-defense now, however. The results of the survey also reflect that less people over all have continued to follow the Zimmerman trial, although black adults follow it more frequently than others.

In the attempt to provide "justice for all" it appears that Americans are confused about who is being denied their rights: Zimmerman's right to self-defense vs. Martin's right to life. As a result, much of the case has revolved around whether or not Martin was on top of Zimmerman when the teen was shot. In either case, it is clear that Zimmerman is the person responsible for killing Martin.

"This is a murder case. One person is dead, and the other person is a murderer. Those words more accurately describe the facts presented in the case. There is no question that Zimmerman killed Martin, so there's no reason to tiptoe around the words," Johnson wrote.

The facts of the case break down to personal responsibility. Who is more responsible for the event that took place that night? Martin because of his "suspicious" behavior, oversized clothing, and the fact that he had drugs in his system, or Zimmerman because he following the teen when he was told not to and, when an altercation occurred, pulled out a gun instead of attempting to control the teen without one?

"This case is a perfect storm," Xavier Donaldson, a defense attorney and former prosecutor in New York, told CNN.

Martin is guilty of killing Trayvon Martin, but is he guilty of a hate crime?

"Sixty-four percent (64%) of blacks support the Justice Department's decision to investigate the shooting as a possible hate crime, but 50% of whites think it's a bad idea," the Rasmussen survey showed.

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