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Majority of Americans support 'Stand Your Ground' laws: poll

A majority of Americans support “Stand Your Ground” laws, according to a new national Quinnipiac University poll that found strong division along political and gender lines.

Fifty-three percent of American voters said they support the laws, which came to widespread national attention after the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Activists in Florida and other states have called for a review of the law, which supporters argue has helped lower crime rates.

Forty percent of those surveyed oppose the laws.

Voters in households with a gun tilted strongly in favor of “Stand Your Ground,” with 67 percent backing the laws that have been enacted in some two dozen states. The first such law was passed in Florida in 2005 with support from the National Rifle Association.

The poll, which was conducted on July 28 through 31, found sharp divisions between black and white voters on the issue. A full 57 percent of white voters are for “Stand Your Ground” laws, according to the poll, with the same number of black voters in opposition. The laws received strong support from male voters as well as Republicans and independents, while Democrats and women tended to be against them.

“’Stand Your Ground’ splits the country sharply along political, gender and racial lines,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said in a press release. “With these kinds of numbers, it’s unlikely the movement to repeal ‘Stand Your Ground’ will be successful in most of the country.”

The country is about evenly split on how President Obama is doing, according to the poll, with 46 percent saying they approve and 48 percent saying they disapprove. The president is more trustworthy than Republicans in Congress when it comes to handling the economy, however, respondents said.

The poll surveyed 1,468 voters, and has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.

Reuters contributed to this report.