Poll: Most White Americans View Confederate Flag as a Symbol of Southern Pride, Not Racism

By Kenrya Rankin Jul 02, 2015

While debate over the Confederate battle flag rages on, a new poll from CNN/ORC International shows that America is divided by race when it comes to how it views the flag and other remnants of the felled group of secessionist states. The poll was conducted June 26 through 28, 2015, a week after the racially motivated Charleston massacre.

Among all Americans, 57 percent think the flag symbolizes Southern pride. That’s down just two percentage points from the last time the poll was conducted, in 2000. Meanwhile, 72 percent of black people view the flag as a symbol of racism, while just 25 percent of whites feel the same way. Two-thirds (66 percent) of whites associate it with pride.

The numbers change dramatically when controlled for education. Among whites without a college degree, 73 percent associate the Confederate battle flag with pride, while 18 percent relate it to racism. Those numbers are 51 percent and 41 percent, respectively, for those with degrees.

The poll also revealed that 55 percent of Americans surveyed support removing the flag from non-museum government property and half think it’s right for companies to stop selling items that feature the Stars and Bars.

But the general population firmly opposes other measures that challenge the Confederacy, including the removal of public statues of Confederate generals and soldiers (71 percent say nay), the renaming of streets that are named after Confederate leaders (68 percent), and redesigning state flags that reference the Confederacy (57 percent), such as Mississippi’s banner.

The races came together when it came to their opinion on the shooting at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel: 92 percent of blacks and 86 percent of whites think it was a hate crime.