In the wake of the violent protests at a white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month, public attention has turned to racial tensions in the U.S. The stated goal of the Charlottesville protest was to oppose the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in a city park. When asked, over half (55%) of Americans support the removal of Confederate statues from government property in states where they are present, according to an icitizen poll conducted from August 6-21, 2017.
In an online survey of 2,158 U.S. adults, respondents are largely split on whether the Confederate flag symbolizes Southern heritage or racial hatred, with opinions largely split along party lines.
The majority (55%) of Americans support the removal of Confederate statues from government property in states where they are present (43% oppose, 3% unsure).
- Support is strongest among millennials (63%), women under age 50 (65%), racial minorities 68%) and non-Southern regions: Northeastern region residents (63%), Midwestern residents (57%), and West coast residents (58%).
- Among those who oppose removal are seniors (51%), men over 50 (52%) and Southerners (51%).
- Opinions on the removal of Confederate statues are split along party lines, with fully 90% of Democrats who “support” versus 88% of Republicans who “oppose.” More Independents, including non-affiliates and other party affiliates, “support” the removal of Confederate statues, with 56% of Independents supporting versus the 41% who “oppose.”
When it comes to gauging the meaning of Confederate symbols, opinions were more divided:
- 49% believe they symbolize “racial hatred,” 41% say they symbolize “Southern heritage,” 7% say “something else,” 3% “unsure.”
- Not surprisingly, these opinions largely paralleled opinions on removal of Confederate statues.
- Among those who say Confederate symbols mean “Southern heritage” are seniors (52%), men over 50 (51%) and Southerners (48%).
- Among those who say Confederate symbols mean “racial hatred” are millennials (53%), women (56%), racial minorities (60%), Northeasterners (55%).
The survey was conducted online from August 6-21, 2017 among 2,158 U.S. adults who are registered icitizen users nationwide. In order to achieve an accurate demographic representation of the public, the data were weighted to U.S. Census benchmarks for gender, age, race, education, region and national benchmarks for party identification. The margin of error for the full sample is 2.11 percentage points, and is higher for subgroups.
For more information, please contact Cynthia Villacis, icitizen’s Director of Polling.