Florida's controversial “Stand Your Ground” law continues to enjoy widespread support among likely voters, even as a state task force considers rewriting the law, says a new Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll. Nearly 65 percent say the 2005 law — which allows people who believe they are in grave danger to use deadly force to defend themselves — does not need to be changed. There's less consensus when it comes to voters' thoughts on the Trayvon Martin shooting, which thrust “Stand Your Ground” into the national spotlight.
Voters are essentially split about whether George Zimmerman — who faces second-degree murder charges for shooting the 17-year-old Martin 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, while 16 percent are not sure. “The real divide on this is racial, which I think isn't terribly surprising given the racial tone that this [case] has taken,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. Voters in South Florida and blacks are the most likely to say “Stand Your Ground” should be repealed or amended, and that Zimmerman was not justified in shooting Trayvon.