Instant Reaction: Plurality of Public Disagrees With Jackson Verdict

by David W. Moore

Majority of whites disagree, majority of nonwhites agree

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Forty-eight percent of Americans disagree, and 34% agree, with the not guilty verdict in the Michael Jackson child molestation case, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup instant reaction poll conducted last night.

As you may know, the jury in the Michael Jackson trial announced their verdict today that Jackson is NOT guilty of sexually molesting a young boy. Do you agree or disagree with the verdict?

Agree

Disagree

No opinion

2005 Jun 13

34%

48

18

In 1995, after the verdict was announced in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, an instant reaction poll also found more Americans disagreeing than agreeing with the jury, and by an even larger margin than in the Jackson case -- 56% to 33%.

As you many know, the jury in the O.J. Simpson trial announced their verdict today that Simpson is not guilty on both charges of murder. Do you agree or disagree with the verdict?

Agree

Disagree

MIXED (vol.)

No opinion

1995 Oct 3

33%

56

4

7

(vol.) = Volunteered response

The current poll also shows a major racial divide in attitudes. Whites disagree with the decision by about a 2-to-1 margin (54% to 28%), while nonwhites take the opposite point of view, also by about a 2-to-1 margin (56% to 26%).

Reactions to Jury Verdicts

Agree

Disagree

No opinion

JACKSON CASE

2005 June 13

%

%

%

All adults

34

48

18

BY RACE

Whites

28

54

18

Nonwhites

56

26

18

SIMPSON CASE

1995 Oct 3

All adults

33

56

11

BY RACE

Whites

27

62

11

Nonwhites

67

24

9

The Simpson case provided a somewhat more racially divided public than did the Jackson case -- but in both situations, clear majorities of whites disagreed with clear majorities of nonwhites.

When asked whether different sentiments characterized their reactions to the verdict, about half of all respondents say they are "surprised," a third are "sad," a little over a quarter are "pleased," while a little under a quarter are "outraged."

Please tell me whether each of the following describes or does not describe your reaction to the jury's verdict. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

2005 Jun 13
(sorted by
"yes, describes")

Yes,
describes

No,
does not

No
opinion

%

%

%

Surprised

47

52

1

Sad

34

62

4

Pleased

27

67

6

Outraged

24

73

3

By comparison, slightly more Americans were surprised about the verdict in the Simpson case than in the Jackson case, many more Americans were sad, but about the same percentages were outraged and pleased.

Trends for comparison: The O.J. Simpson verdict


1995 Oct 3

Yes,
describes

No,
does not

No
opinion

%

%

%

Surprised

52

47

1

Sad

50

48

2

Outraged

28

69

3

Pleased

26

71

3

A clear majority of Americans, 62%, believe that Jackson's celebrity status was a major factor in the jury's verdict, while about half that number say his celebrity status was either a minor factor (17%) or not a factor at all (18%).

Just your best guess, do you think Michael Jackson's celebrity status was a major factor, a minor factor, or not a factor at all in the jury's verdict?

Major
factor

Minor
factor

Not a factor
at all

No
opinion

2005 Jun 13

62%

17

18

3

During and after the trial, some observers suggested that with a not guilty verdict, Jackson might try a comeback, either with a world tour or a new album. The poll indicates that about half of Jackson's fan base has stayed with him, while the other half has not.

Which comes closest to your view -- [ROTATED: you were never a fan of Michael Jackson, you were a fan of Michael Jackson before the charges about misconduct with young boys first surfaced, but you are not a fan now, or you are still a fan of Michael Jackson]?


Never
a fan

Fan before charges,
not a fan now


Still
a fan


No
opinion

%

%

%

%

All adults

50

22

25

3

BY AGE

18-49

36

28

33

3

50+

69

14

15

2

Overall, 50% of all Americans say they are not now, nor have they ever been, Jackson fans. Another 22% say they used to be fans, but are not any longer. That leaves 25% of adults who say they are still fans, including 33% of people under 50, and 15% of people 50 and older. If these numbers hold up in the ensuing weeks and months, this would be a very sizable base if Jackson attempts a comeback.

While the Jackson case received a great deal of media attention, the public was more mesmerized by the Simpson trial 10 years ago. The poll shows that half of all Americans say they personally watched or listened to the Jackson verdict, while 80% said they personally watched or listened to the Simpson verdict.

Did you personally watch or listen to the verdict announcement on television or radio today as it was being announced, or did you hear about it later?

Personally
watched/
listened to

Heard about
it later

No
opinion

2005 Jun 13

49%

50

1

Trends for comparison: The O.J. Simpson verdict

Personally
watched/
listened to

Heard about
it later

No
opinion

1995 Oct 3

80%

19

1

Survey Methods

Results in the current survey are based on telephone interviews with 635 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted June 13, 2005. The jury's verdict that found Jackson not guilty on 10 separate counts was announced to the public shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The national poll of 635 adults was conducted between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. EDT.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.

Get Articles in Related Topics:


Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/16828/Instant-Reaction-Plurality-Public-Disagrees-Jackson-Verdict.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030