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Poll: On Zimmerman verdict, contrasting views by race

Ten days after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, a new poll out Tuesday shows that Americans are divided about the verdict.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed approved of the verdict and 41 percent disapproved of the jury's decision, while the rest had no opinion, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

However, 86 percent of African-Americans disapproved - with 84 percent, strongly disapproving - while 51 percent of whites approved of the verdict.

When asked regardless of the verdict whether the Justice Department should charge Zimmerman with violating Martin's civil rights, 46 percent said he shouldn't be charged and 39 percent said he should. Broken down by race, 81 percent of African-Americans said he should be charged, 59 percent of whites said he should not.

The Justice Department is continuing its civil rights investigation into Martin's shooting, however, civil rights leaders have called on Attorney General Eric Holder to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

The Zimmerman verdict sparked numerous protests and rallies and prompted President Obama to deliver remarks, which some called historic, in which he compared himself to Martin and discussed race relations in America.

Meantime, as debate over immigration reform rages in Congress, the poll shows the nation is divided about border security and a pathway to citizenship.

Support for these ideas, included in the Senate-passed comprehensive reform bill, nearly equal the opposition, 46-44 percent.

The Republican-controlled House has grappled with the majority-Democratic Senate proposal since it passed last month.

Most Americans hope the House examines each element of the Senate bill, not just voting for comprehensive immigration reform as it stands. But if reform fails in the House altogether, 63 percent of Americans would blame House Republicans.

Despite previous hopes to sign immigration law before the August break, President Obama said that the debate will continue into fall. He, and Democratic colleagues, have said both pillars of the Senate bill - border security and a pathway to citizenship - are necessary for this legislation.


Though there was some bipartisan support for this effort in the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has pushed back against the Senate bill.

"I'm not going to predict what's going to be on the floor and what isn't going to be on the floor, and that's what you're asking me to do. I can't do that, and I don't want to do that," he said. "What I committed to when I became speaker was to a more open and fair process. And as difficult as this issue is, me taking a hard position for or against some of these issues will make it harder for us to get a bill."

The poll, conducted July 18-21, has a +/- 3.5 percent margin of error and included 1,002 adults nationwide

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