Country Deeply Divided Over Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that views of the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, MO, case are strongly divided along racial, generational, and ideological lines.

As a whole, respondents are split evenly: 48 percent said that they approve and 45 percent said that they disapprove of the grand jury’s decision not to bring criminal charges against police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.  Respondents are similarly split, 48-47 percent, on whether the federal government should bring civil rights charges against Wilson.

But White respondents are much more likely than Black or Hispanic respondents to approve of the decision not to indict Wilson: 58 percent of White people polled approve of the grand jury decision, compared to only 9 percent of Black people and 32 percent of Hispanic people.

The poll also indicates that views are sharply divided along partisan lines: 76 percent of Republicans, but half of independents and only 27 percent of Democrats, approve of the grand jury's decision. As for bringing civil rights charges against Wilson, about three-quarters of Democrats, fewer than half of independents and, just 21 percent of Republicans say they'd approve.

"There's a similar divide by ideology, with approval for the grand jury action ranging from 74 percent among strong conservatives to 47 percent of moderates and 29 percent of liberals. At the same time 62 percent of liberals say they'd approve of the federal government bringing civil rights charges; 51 percent of moderates agree, dropping to 29 percent of strong conservatives.

The generational differences are equally sharp, with 62 percent of seniors approving of the grand jury decision, compared with 30 percent of those under age 30. And while two-thirds of millennials approve of efforts to pursue a civil case, just a third of seniors agree."

These results are consistent with the results of a 2013 Pew Research Center survey highlighting that "Blacks and Whites have very different views about many aspects of race — from confidence in the police to progress on racial equality."

Read more: resources:
Race and Ethnic Inequality (
Gun Violence in America (
Fear of Crime (
Crime Victimization in the US: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Crime and Victims Statistics (
Frederique Laubepin

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