12:23 PM CDT, March 26, 2012
One month after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, nearly three out of four Americans say police should arrest the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who pulled the trigger, according to a new national survey.
The CNN/ORC International poll released today also indicates that three-quarters of the public says that Neighborhood Watch members should not be allowed to carry weapons.
Seventy-three percent of people questioned in the survey say that George Zimmerman should be arrested, with 11% disagreeing and 16% unsure. Zimmerman admits to shooting and killing Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in Sanford on Feb. 26.
Zimmerman, 28, said Martin attacked him and he shot in self-defense, according to police. Martin's family and supporters say the unarmed 17-year-old was no more threatening than the bag of Skittles candy and the iced tea he was carrying.
The shooting has grabbed national headlines and has renewed the national conversation about race relations, gun laws, and even how young men dress. It sparked a national furor that reached all the way to the White House, prompting President Barack Obama last week to call for national soul-searching to discover how something so tragic could happen. Protests continue today, with rallies planned for major cities across the country.
"Nearly two-thirds of whites and 86 percent of non-whites say Zimmerman should be arrested," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, "as well as majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independent voters."
The survey indicates that 55 percent of Americans approve of so-called "stand your ground" laws, although there is a big gender gap on that question, with men approving of the laws 64 percent to 34 percent and women opposing the measures 52 percent to 46 percent.
According to the poll, only one in five think that Neighborhood Watch members should carry guns, with 76 percent saying they should not be allowed to be armed.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International on Saturday and Sunday, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
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