South Carolinians are equally divided on whether the Confederate battle flag should be removed from the state Capitol grounds, conservative pollster Matt Towery tells Newsmax TV.
Fifty percent told his poll the flag should be removed in the wake of the shooting deaths of nine black church members last week, Towery told "Newsmax Prime" on Tuesday. White suspect Dylann Roof told the victims he was killing them because of their race, survivors said.
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That act has led for calls for the flag to be removed from the Capitol grounds. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley urged lawmakers
to take up the move, which requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature, in a special session.
But 49 percent of the state's residents think the flag should remain, making the issue thorny. The legislature is dominated by Republicans, but GOP voters in the state overwhelmingly favor keeping the flag, Towery said.
"They're going to find as time goes by that it'll be a tough battle, but ultimately I tend to think these things do end up with these Confederate emblems coming down," Towery said.
Other states that have removed the flag from their capital faced similar obstacles, he said. "So this is a process."
South Carolina can be a hard state to peg in opinion polls, Towery said, noting that it is actually older residents who are more likely to support removing the flag while younger residents don't.
That could be attributable to some other issue, he said. "It goes beyond the issue of the flag and makes them less willing to move on this issue."
Also, he noted, many in the state's older population are retired military who are originally from other parts of the country who may not feel so strongly on the issue.
"You really have to be careful when you interpret South Carolina," Towery said.
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