Poll: Most Want Rebel Flag Removed From S.C. Capitol

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A majority of voters do not believe the Confederate flag should be flown on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds, according to a new survey.

Sixty percent of likely voters surveyed by Rassmussen Reports said the flag should not be displayed at the South Carolina capitol, while 21 percent said it should. Eighteen percent are undecided.

The mass shooting that killed nine people one week ago inside Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church sparked a debate over the presence of the flag on the capitol grounds, where it has flown since 1962. Photos of accused shooter Dylann Roof show him posing with the symbol of the Confederacy.

A plurality of Republican voters (46 percent) said the flag should not fly at the statehouse, and a majority (76 percent) of Democrats agree.

Although the majority of likely voters agree the flag should not fly there, they are split on whether it is a symbol of Southern heritage (43 percent) or hatred (39 percent).

A majority of white and black voters (57 percent and 81 percent, respectively) believe the flag should not fly at the statehouse. Twenty-two percent of white voters said it should remain, and 18 percent are unsure. Fourteen percent of black voters said the flag should stay, and only 5 percent are unsure.

Party lines also correlate with differing interpretations of what the Confederate flag represents. A majority of Republicans (64 percent) said it represents Southern heritage, while a majority of Democrats (57 percent) said it is a symbol of hatred.

Ideology also aligns with respondents’ opinions. Sixty-three percent of conservatives said the flag represents Southern heritage, while just 39 percent of moderates and only 22 percent of liberals agree.

In 2014, a Winthrop University poll  said six in 10 South Carolina residents wanted the flag to fly on statehouse grounds, a number that seems to have shifted since last week’s tragedy.

South Carolina has a turbulent history regarding this issue, as efforts to remove the flag began in the 1970s. Gov. Nikki Haley stated Monday that the flag should be taken down, and many 2016 candidates are following suit. On Tuesday, the South Carolina state legislature voted to debate removing the flag.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted June 22-23, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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