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Floridians favor 'stand your ground' law

Floridians favor 'stand your ground' law
George Zimmerman looks at his Attorney Mark O'Mara during his bail hearing at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida on April 20, 2012. UPI/ Gary Green/Pool | License Photo

MIAMI, July 16 (UPI) -- The controversial "stand your ground" law in Florida still enjoys support among likely voters even as a task force considers revising it, a new poll indicates.

Nearly 65 percent of likely voters said the 2005 law --which allows people who think they are in grave danger to use deadly force to defend themselves -- does not need to be changed, results from the Tampa Bay Times-Miami Herald-Bay News 9 cable news station poll release Monday indicated.

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However, the poll showed less consensus concerning the shooting death of unarmed Trayvon Martin, 17, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, which pushed "Stand Your Ground" into the national spotlight this year.

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Voters essentially were split about whether Zimmerman -- facing second-degree murder charges for shooting Martin on Feb. 26 -- was acting in self-defense when he pulled the trigger. Forty-four percent believe he was and 40 percent say he wasn't, results indicated. Sixteen percent said they weren't sure.

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Major differences emerge when race and geography were factored, The Miami Herald reported. Martin was black and Zimmerman is Hispanic-American.

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Voters in South Florida and blacks are the most likely to say the law should be repealed or amended, and that Zimmerman wasn't justified in shooting Martin, results indicated.

Only 6 percent of black voters said they believe Zimmerman acted in self-defense, while 82 percent said he was not, results indicated.

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Among Hispanics, 52 percent said they agreed with Zimmerman's claim of self-defense, compared to 50 percent of whites.

Results are based on telephone interviews of 800 registered Florida voters conducted July 9-11. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

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