Poll: 57% believe Confederate monuments should remain

Protesters tear down a Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina, Photo Date: 8/14/17
Protesters tear down a Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina, Photo Date: 8/14/17(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 15, 2017 at 11:13 AM EDT
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found a majority of respondents believe Confederate monuments should stay in place.

The survey was conducted by Reuters/Ipsos in conjunction with the University of Virginia Center for Politics from August 21 to September 5 following protests in and around downtown Charlottesville on August 11-12.

UVA says the poll had 5,360 respondents for most questions.

On Confederate monuments, respondents were given a choice between removing Confederate monuments from all public spaces or keeping all of them in place.

More than half (57 percent) said that Confederate monuments should remain in public spaces, while a quarter (26 percent) said they should be removed. 17 percent said they don't know.

"It doesn't matter where you came from or what you are. It's our heritage of America. People should honor that," said Frances Trout, from Arizona.

"For a lot of people, it's respect for their ancestors and things like that. But I also think that you have to recognize your ancestors aren't, weren't always standing for things that were correct," said Leo Dirusso, a James Madison University undergradaute.

The survey also asked when respondents started to feel that monuments should be removed or remain.

Among African Americans, 54 percent said all monuments should be removed versus 25 percent who were inclined to keep all monuments where they are. Whites strongly differed, with two-thirds (67%) saying they should remain in place and just 19 percent favoring removal.

46 percent of Democrats favored removing all monuments versus 38 percent for leaving them in place. 81 percent Republicans favored keeping monuments in place, while 10 percent preferred moving monuments. Independents also favored keeping monuments with 62 percent saying they prefer monuments to stay in place and 18 percent saying they should be removed.

"I can see both sides," said Jerry Humphreys from Pennsylavnia. "I can't just narrow it down."

Among respondents with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 51 percent favored keeping the monuments in place versus 34 percent for removing them

The poll also found mixed views on Black Lives Matter. About a third of respondents (32 percent) said they support BLM. 24 percent indicated a middle position or neither supporting nor opposing. 37% of respondents somewhat or strongly opposed the organization.

Respondents were also asked if they agreed or disagreed with statements asking whether white people and/or racial minorities in the United States are “under attack.” 14 percent of all respondents agreed that white people are under attack and disagreed with the statement that nonwhites are under attack.

Nearly one-third of respondents (31 percent) strongly or somewhat agreed that the country needs to “protect and preserve its White European heritage.” Another third (34%) strongly or somewhat disagreed with the statement, and 29% neither agreed nor disagreed.

Fifty years after the United States Supreme Court struck down bans on mixed-race marriage in Loving v. Virginia, about one-sixth of respondents (16 percent) agreed with the statement that “marriage should only be allowed between two people of the same race” and an additional 14 percent neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement, while four percent said they didn’t know. Among those identifying as white, 17 percent agreed that marriage should be restricted to the same race, with 15 percent neither agreeing nor disagreeing. This was slightly higher than nonwhites, where 15 percent agreed and 12 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

The poll also asked about the extent respondents supported various ideologies, including the alt-right and neo-Nazism.

Six percent of respondents said they strongly or somewhat supported the alt-right while four percent expressed support for neo-Nazism. eight percent expressed support for white nationalism. For both the alt-right and white nationalism questions, the poll found that about one-fifth of respondents said they neither supported nor opposed those groups or movements.

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