Led by men, blacks, 46 percent say Lewis is innocent in poll

May 17, 2000|By Marego Athans

Nearly half of Baltimore voters surveyed believe that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is innocent of murder charges and 15 percent think he's guilty, according to poll results to be released today.

Forty-six percent said he was innocent while 39 percent of those surveyed said they didn't know enough about the case to form an opinion.

The poll was conducted between May 10 and May 14 by Gonzales/Arscott Research & Communications Inc. of Annapolis primarily on Baltimore mayoral politics. The section on Lewis sought opinions on whether he is guilty or innocent in the Jan. 31 stabbing deaths of two men near an Atlanta nightclub.

The poll found those most likely to believe he is innocent are men, African-Americans and young people. Roughly the same percentage of men and women said they thought Lewis is guilty - 14 and 16 percent, respectively. But among those who believe his plea of innocence, 60 percent were men and 35 percent were women.

Among respondents who said they'd wait for the trial to make a decision, 49 percent were women and 26 percent were men.

A majority (54 percent) of black voters said Lewis is innocent; 5 percent said he's guilty. The gap is narrower among whites, 33 percent of whom believe he is innocent while 30 percent believe he is guilty. Similar percentages of blacks and whites - 41 percent and 37 percent respectively - said they weren't sure.

More than half of city voters younger than age 55 said they believed that Lewis is innocent, while just 5 percent believe he is guilty. Fifty-three percent of voters age 55 and older said they weren't sure.

The poll, based on telephone interviews with 426 registered voters, has a margin for error of no greater than plus or minus 5 percentage points.

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