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Pew: Trayvon Martin opinions reflect partisan divide

A recent Miami Herald story showed how partisan battle lines are forming in the Trayvon Martin shooting case, and now Pew has data to back that up. From Pew Research:

The Trayvon Martin shooting is the public’s top story for the second consecutive week. But interest in the teenager’s death is deeply divided along partisan, as well as racial, lines. These differences also are apparent in reactions to news coverage of the incident: Far more Republicans (56%) than Democrats (25%) say there has been too much coverage of Martin’s death.

The latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted March 29-April 1 among 1,000 adults, finds that 30% say they followed Martin’s death more closely than any other story, little changed from a week ago (25%). The Supreme Court hearings on the 2010 health care law are a distant second; 15% say they followed the Court hearings most closely.

A separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) found that the Court’s health care hearings accounted for 19% of news coverage. Slightly less coverage (18% of the newshole) was devoted to news about Trayvon Martin.

As was the case last week, African Americans are far more likely than whites to say they are closely tracking news about the Florida teenager’s death. Fully 58% cite news about Trayvon Martin’s killing as their top story, compared with 24% of whites. Moreover, 43% of whites say the story has received too much coverage, compared with just 16% of blacks.

Democrats, regardless of race, are following Martin’s death more closely than are Republicans. Nearly four-in-ten Democrats (38%), including 31% of white Democrats, say the killing of Trayvon Martin is their top story; just 19% of Republicans are following this story most closely. More than half of Republicans (56%) say the story has been overcovered, compared with 25% of Democrats, including 33% of white Democrats.

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