PARTISAN DIVIDE ECLIPSES RACIAL DIVIDE …
|| By FITSNEWS || The debate over the Confederate flag in South Carolina is over … for now. But as we’ve noted, the fallout from the banner’s furling (which we supported, incidentally) has only just begun.
The issue will clearly play a role in the 2016 legislative primary elections next spring … and it could conceivably still crop up in the 2016 “First in the South” presidential primary.
So … where is America on this issue?
According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in the aftermath of the flag’s removal from the grounds of the S.C. State House last month, 57 percent of Americans supported the state’s decision. Thirty-four percent opposed.
That’s an informed reaction, too, as 89 percent of the public had heard about the debate – including 64 percent who said they heard “a lot” about it.
Count us in that latter group … although you’d have to email S.C. governor Nikki Haley to ask her if she’s heard a lot about the issue.
Or, maybe not …
Anyway, within Pew’s overall numbers on the flag is a partisan divide which actually eclipses the racial gap on this issue. To wit: Seventy-four percent of Democrats supported the flag’s removal, compared to 19 percent who thought it was the wrong decision. On the GOP side only 43 percent supported the flag coming down compared to 49 percent who thought it was the wrong decision.
By contrast, 56 percent of whites said lowering the flag was the right decision compared to 38 percent who said it was the wrong call. Among blacks, the split was 76 percent in support of the flag coming down and only 12 percent opposed.
And yes, the whole “heritage versus hate” issue remains.
When asked an open-ended question about their feelings on South Carolina’s decision, about a third (36 percent) of those who view removing the flag as the right decision cite the flag’s association with racism, hatred or slavery, while 20 percent say the flag is offensive or divisive. Among those who say the decision to remove the flag was wrong, most (54 percent) mention the flag’s historical significance, while 27 percent volunteer that it is a misunderstood symbol (including 20% who say that it is wrongly cast as a symbol of hatred, racism or slavery) .
No shocker there …
We expect there to be a flood of statewide (and district-specific) polling in South Carolina in the months to come on this issue … and to the extent that data is provided to us, we’ll share it with you.
For those of you keeping score at home, Pew’s survey was conducted from July 14-20, 2015. It included a national sample of 2,002 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error of the survey is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.