Although by reading media reports one would think the issue of the confederate flag is a major debate nationally with most people now in favor of its removal, that is far from the case according to new results of a CNN/ORC poll.
Moves to ban the Confederate Flags and other Confederacy symbols from public places received a lot of media coverage in the weeks following the shooting murder of nine African-American churchgoers in a Charleston church by a white man who was a self declared racist. The gunman 21 year old Dylann Roof had posed with a Confederate flag in on-line photos he had posted with a racist manifesto.
The poll showed public opinion on the issue was the same now as it was 15 years ago with the majority seeing it not as a racist symbol but one of southern pride.
Of those surveyed, 57 per cent viewed the confederate flag as a Southern pride symbol . In 200 that figure was 59 percent . However opinions now varied and were divided by race and education levels.
Of African-Americans polled, 72 percent associated the Confederate flag as a racist symbol while only 25 percent of whites shared that view. In the South, the difference was even wider with 75 percent of whites describing the flag as a symbol of pride and only 18 percent called it a racist symbol. Those figures were nearly reversed among Southern African-Americans, with 75 percent associating it with racism and only 11% seeing it as a pride symbol.
Among whites, opinion is divided by education levels, with those with more formal education seeing the flag as a symbol of racism and the days of slavery. Among whites polled who do not have a college degree, 73 percent said it was a sign of Southern pride and only 18 percent racism. Of those with a college degree 51 percent said it was 'a symbol of pride, 41% racism.
A majority, 55 percent favored not displaying the Confederate flag on government property, apart from museums and half supported retailers not selling the confederate flag while 47 percent opposed such a move. But a majority opposed redesigning state flags that featured Confederate emblems - 57 percent , renaming streets and highways named after Confederate leaders - 68 percent, and removing memorials and tributes to those that fought on the Confederate side during the civil war - 71 percent.
However the majority of African-Americans surveyed favored the removal of the flag from government property - 73 percent, a ban on sales of the flag - 65 percent , and redesigning state flags that displayed Confederate references - 59 percent.
Although no significant age gaps were revealed in the poll overall on questions about the flag, younger African-Americans were more likely to support some proposals than older ones. African-Americans 54 or younger were more likely than their older peers to support banning Confederate flags from government property - 80 percent compared to 63 percent, the ban of selling confederate flags - 71 percent to 54 percent, and redesigning of state flags to remove Confederacy references - 64 percent v 54 percent.
Most everyone surveyed agreed that the Charleston shootings should be considered a hate crime.