A majority of Americans support "Stand Your Ground" laws allowing them to use lethal force in the name of self-defense, but new polls show how a deep racial, partisan, and even gender divide splits the country's attitudes.
In perfectly identical proportions, black and white Americans have opposite opinions on "Stand Your Ground" laws, according to the new poll released by Quinnipiac University. The mirror split was 57% to 37%, with white voters supporting the laws by that amount, and black voters opposing them in the same proportions.
The poll also found a significant gender divide, with men supporting the laws by a nearly 30-point margin and a slight majority of women opposing them.
Along partisan lines, the measures have strong support from Republicans (75% to 19%) and Democrats opposing them by a slightly smaller martin (62% to 32%). Support from independents mirrors that of white voters exactly.
The same poll reveals that opposition to "Stand Your Ground" laws and support for President Obama are correlated as well. The president has high approval ratings with black and Democratic voters (identical margins again, 84% to 11%). Republicans disapprove 85% to 13% and white voters 58% to 36%.
"Stand Your Ground’ splits the country sharply along political, gender and racial lines,” Quinnipiac University Polling assistant director Peter Brown said in a statement. “With these kinds of numbers, it’s unlikely the movement to repeal ‘Stand Your Ground’ will be successful in most of the country.”
But those numbers are unlikely to impact Florida's "Dream Defenders" - a group of a few dozen protesters who began a sit-in style protest in the Florida Capitol more than two weeks ago to demand justice for Trayvon Martin after George Zimmerman was found not guilty. The demonstrators urged Governor Rick Scott to call a special session to review the "Stand Your Ground" laws. When he refused, they switched their plan, urging lawmakers to call the special session. They have been holding their own "people's sessions" since, with one focusing on racial profiling set for Friday afternoon,