Statewide MS Poll Shows Voters Equally Divided Over Retiring State Flag

June 11, 2020


On June 10, 2020, Chism Strategies conducted a statewide survey to measure voter opinion on the current state flag. We found likely voters are statistically tied on whether to keep or replace the state’s flag that contains the Confederate battle emblem.

  • 61% of white respondents want to keep the state flag, with the greatest measure of support among seniors, who favor keeping the flag 71%-17%.
  • 84% of African Americans want to replace the state flag and are 8% more likely than whites who agree with them to say this issue is “very important.”
  • Support for the flag splits along party lines with strong Republicans supporting it 81%-11% and strong Democrats opposing it 74%-17%. However, self-styled independents favor replacing the flag 54% to 32%, and a third of voters who say they only lean Republican support replacing the flag.
  • A majority of voters under age 65 support removing the current state flag (52 to 41%), but voters age 65 and older support keeping the current flag 62%-25%.
  • Enthusiasm is high on both sides of the argument—four in five supporters AND opponents of the current flag say the matter is “very important” to them.
  • For voters who wish to replace the state flag, there is strong support for both the Unity argument (the current flag is a racist symbol that divides us) and the National Image argument (it keeps people and businesses from moving here and hurts our economy). For Republican voters who want to replace the state flag, the argument about its effect on our national image holds more weight, while for Democrats, the notion that the flag is a racist symbol is closer to their opinion.
  • For those who want to keep the state flag, the overwhelming response is that the flag is part of our heritage and to replace it means turning our backs on history.
  • To fully understand the significance of these survey results one must consider that 19 years ago, nearly two thirds of voters (64.6%) rejected the idea of a new state flag.

About five years ago, a Chism Strategies statewide poll found that 1 only 39% of voters agreed that the current state flag limited outside investment and hurt tourism. 48% disagreed. Moreover, 55% of voters felt the 2011 referendum had settled the issue while only 27% wanted a new vote.

In the fall of 2017, a Chism Strategies statewide poll 2 found that for the first time ever supporters of the state flag were less than a majority (49.1%) but they still out polled those who wanted a new flag (40.7%). We saw for the first time that a majority of whites under age 55 supported changing the state flag.

About the Survey: This survey was conducted June 10, 2020. The sample size was 540 with a margin of error of 4.38% with 50.4% from landlines and 49.6% from mobile phones. We weighted results to reflect the likely partisan, age, race and gender composition of the general election turnout. Whites comprise 65% and African Americans make up 33% of the sample. The partisan mix is 48% Republican, /38% Dem. And 14% Ind. Chism Strategies undertook this survey with no input nor funding from any outside individual or organization.

You can find toplines and cross tabs here.

1 April 2014. N = 602. 3.98% MOE. IVR survey. Partisan breakdown of 46% R, 36% D, 17% Ind.
2 Sept 2017. N = 500. 4.38% MOE. IVR survey. Partisan breakdown of 44% R, 32% D, 24% Ind. 29% AA; 67% white

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