Sometimes polls are just baffling. The latest Rasmussen Reports finds that 40 percent of Americans now say that Trayvon Martin was shot in self-defense by gunman George Zimmerman. That figure is up 25 points from the reported figures in March and up 16 points from last month.
What’s more interesting is that now, according to the survey, 24 percent of American adults still believe that the man who shot Martin should be found guilty of murder. But that number was 33 percent in March.
It is clear that, if the results of this survey are to be believed, the nation seems to be taking a more lenient stance in regard to Zimmerman’s potential culpability. As more evidence unfolds in the days leading up to the looming trial, people are beginning to believe that Trayvon managed to get a few blows in and that Zimmerman was hurt in the process.
But why does this fact somehow mean that Zimmerman was justified in killing the unarmed teen? It’s reasonable to believe that most people would do something to protect themselves when encountered by an armed predator on a dark road. So it seems like a leap for people to think that, based on that fact, Trayvon’s killing was somehow warranted.
Thirty-six percent of respondents remain undecided, but even that number is shrinking from the 55 percent figure back in March. It seems that many people are less sympathetic to the notion that Trayvon fought back against the gunman. But I wonder if, as more evidence surfaces, Trayvon’s attempt to defend himself will mean that Zimmerman should be off the hook.