(Politico) – As debate rages in South Carolina over the Confederate flag on its statehouse property, a majority of Americans see the rebel flag as a symbol of Southern pride, not a reminder of racism, according to a new CNN/ORC poll out Thursday. Public opinion is about where it stood 15 years ago, when the Palmetto State removed the rebel St. Andrew’s cross from the Capitol dome.
But there is a stark racial divide on how the banner is perceived and what should be done about references to the Confederacy.
Among all 1,017 adults participating, 57 percent said it’s a symbol of Southern pride, 33 percent called it more a symbol of racism and 5 percent said it’s both equally. Among whites, 66 percent said it symbolizes pride, while just 17 percent of African-Americans responded that way. In May 2000, 59 percent of Americans in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll called the flag a point of regional and historical pride.
A majority of both blacks and whites said they would oppose renaming streets and highways named after Confederate leaders, with 68 percent overall in opposition.