August 6, 2015
8/6: A Nation Still Divided: The Confederate Flag
Americans divide about whether or not the confederate flag should be removed from government buildings. While 49% favor such a measure, 43% oppose it.
When looking at Americans’ perceptions of the Civil War, a majority, 53%, believes slavery was the main reason for the conflict. Regional differences exist with those in the South dividing about whether or not slavery was at the center of the Civil War.
Should schools teach that slavery was the driving force of the Civil War? A majority of Americans believes that children should be taught this lesson in the classroom.
More than 150 years after the start of the Civil War, a plurality of Americans, 44%, thinks race relations in the United States are getting worse, and fewer than one in five, 18%, says they are improving.
Complete August 6, 2015 McClatchy-Marist Poll of the United States
Confederate Flag Controversy
The court of public opinion is still out on whether or not the confederate flag should be removed from government buildings. Racial and partisan differences exist.
- 49% of residents either strongly favor, 23%, or favor, 26%, taking down the confederate flag from government buildings. 43% either oppose, 27%, or strongly oppose, 16%, removing the flag.
- Democrats, 69%, and independents, 52%, are more likely than Republicans, 38%, to support removing the flag from official buildings.
The Impetus of the Civil War
Majorities of Americans think slavery was the main reason for the Civil War and assert that schoolchildren should be taught that lesson.
- 53% of residents say slavery led the nation into civil war. 41% disagree.
- While 62% of Democrats and 53% of independents cite slavery as the main reason for the Civil War, Republicans divide.
- Regional differences exist. At least half of residents in the Northeast, 50%, Midwest, 56%, and West, 67%, say slavery caused the Civil War. However, Southerners divide. 49% report it was not the main reason for the conflict. 45% say slavery was at the heart of the Civil War.
- A majority of Americans, 55%, say schools should teach children that slavery was the main reason for the Civil War.
- Democrats, 62%, and independents, 52%, are more likely than the GOP to want students to learn that the Civil War began, mainly, because of slavery. Members of the GOP divide.
- At least a majority of residents in the West, 66%, Northeast, 55%, and Midwest, 54%, believe schools’ curricula should include that slavery spurred the Civil War. Southerners divide with 49% saying it should be instructed and 45% reporting it should not.
Plurality of Americans Say Race Relations in the U.S. are Getting Worse
More than four in ten Americans, 44%, think race relations in the United States are deteriorating while only 18% believe they are getting better. 37% say race relations are status quo.
- More than six in ten Republicans, 61%, and a plurality of independents, 47%, say racial strife is on the rise. A plurality of Democrats, 41%, thinks race relations are the same as they have been. About one-third, 34%, believe racial tensions are worsening.