Among several points one might take away from Obama's unexpected statement on the Zimmerman verdict last Friday would be that it doesn't exist in a vacuum. That attitudes about what happened to Trayvon Martin weren't shaped solely by the experience of learning about what happened in Sanford, Florida, that night. If Obama wanted a broad conversation on racial distinctions in America, he has support in that goal. From black Americans.
Both polls are, overall, evenly split. About half the country feels as though the verdict was just, half doesn't. (In each line of each chart, the empty space between the bar and the '100' line indicates those who are undecided or don't have enough information.) Each poll also found similar disagreement based on race. Whites are more likely to consider the verdict just; blacks far less likely to. The political breakdown echoes that divide. Democrats are more likely to think the verdict was unjust; Republicans, more likely to think it just.
The Pew poll goes further on the political question, in two notable ways. One is that it broke out Tea Party respondents. They think the verdict was just by a ten-to-one margin. Then Pew broke out white Democrats. They are more likely to consider the verdict unjust — but by less of a margin than Democrats overall. In other words, a racial gap exists within the party as well. As Pew puts it:
While most white Democrats are unhappy with the verdict, dissatisfaction with the outcome is much broader among black Democrats (91 percent dissatisfied) than among white Democrats (56 percent dissatisfied).
The last thing to note: Household income is also a predictor of response. Lower income households were more likely to disapprove of the verdict than wealthier households. We'll come back to this.