Fifty-seven percent of Americans continue to believe the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern pride and not racism, according to a new CNN/ORC poll
, but the opinions are divided sharply along racial lines.
The opinion on the flag remains about the same as it was 15 years ago, when 59 percent said they saw the flag as a sign of pride, the random poll of 1,017 Americans revealed, reports CNN
The opinions were not only divided by race, but also, among whites, by education, with people who have more formal education being less likely to see the flag as a symbol of pride.
Among African-Americans, who were represented by 303 people in the poll, 72 percent said the flag is a sign of racism, but only 25 percent of the whites surveyed by CNN agreed.
And in the South, the racial divide was even wider, with 75 percent of Southern whites saying the flag symbolizes pride and 18 percent saying it was a sign of racism. The figures were reversed among the Southern African-Americans polled, with 11 percent seeing it as a sign of pride and 75 percent as racism.
With white respondents, 51 percent of those with a college degree said the flag is a symbol of pride and 41 percent said it symbolized racism. In contrast, 73 percent of those without a college degree were more likely to say the flag shows Southern pride and 18 percent say they see it as racist.
There have been several efforts also to remove the flag or other references to the Confederacy in the days following the deaths of nine churchgoers at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, but the public is also mixed on how far that effort should go.
A majority, at 55 percent, favor removing the flag from government property that is not part of a museum, while 43 percent wanted it to stay. Respondents were divided, by 50-47 percent, over whether to support private companies that choose not to sell items featuring the Confederate flag.
But still, most people don't want to redesign state flags that contain Confederate emblems, rename streets that are named after Confederate leaders, or remove tributes to Confederate heroes from public places.
Seventy-three percent of African-Americans polled, though, favored removing the flags from government property. Another 65 percent agreed that companies should stop the sale of the flags, and 59 percent want state flags redesigned.
The poll carried a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points overall, with a margin of 5.5 points among blacks and 3.5 points among whites.
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