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Zimmerman trial drew 'relatively modest public interest' (Pew Research Center)

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Americans were not necessarily riveted to the Zimmerman trial, at least according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

“In a weekend survey, 26 percent say they were following news about the trial very closely. The final days of the trial of George Zimmerman, which concluded July 13 with a verdict of not guilty, attracted relatively modest public interest overall,” the pollster says.

“This is lower than interest in the initial controversy over Trayvon Martin’s shooting when it erupted last year. In March 2012,35 percent said they followed news about Martin’s shooting very closely.”

The findings reveal that the event “has consistently attracted far more interest among blacks than whites - and that remained the case in the trial’s final days. Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to say they tracked news about the Zimmerman trial very closely (56 percent vs. 20 percent).”

The pollster continues, “Moreover, fully 67 percent of blacks say they watched at least some live coverage of the Zimmerman trial, compared with 38 percent of whites. About one-in-five blacks (21 percent) say they watched ‘almost all’ of the trial coverage; just 5 percent of whites reported watching almost all of it.”

There are also historical findings of similar incidents during the last two decades.

70 percent of Americans “very closely” followed the verdict in the 1992 Rodney King beating case; the figure included 83 percent of blacks and 69 percent of whites.

48 percent of Americans overall followed the 1994 arrest of O.J. Simpson very closely; the numbers included 63 percent of blacks and 46 percent of whites.

35 percent overall followed the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin very closely; the figure included 70 percent of blacks and 30 percent of whites.

35 percent overall followed the charges made against George Zimmerman very closely; the figure included 63 percent of blacks and 30 percent of whites.

30 percent overall followed the 2009 arrest of Henry Gates very closely; the figure included 52 percent of blacks and 27 percent of whites.

26 percent overall followed the trial of George Zimmerman very closely; the figure includes 56 percent of black and 20 percent of whites.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted July 11-14, plus historic Pew data from 1992-2012. See all the findings here.

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