Most Americans continue to think of the Confederate flag as emblematic of Southern pride and not inherently racist, according to a new Gallup poll, though views are divided along party lines.

Some 54 percent of Americans say the flag represents not racism but Southern heritage, but Democratic support for the Confederate battle banner has dropped precipitously, according to the survey.

{mosads}About a third of Democrats, 32 percent, view the flag as symbolic of Southern pride, almost half of the 61 percent who held that view when surveyed in 1992.

Meanwhile, views among Republicans have remained relatively consistent, ticking upward 3 points to 78 percent since 1992, when a full three-quarters of Republicans viewed the flag as a Southern symbol.

Debate over the Civil War rebel flag was reignited following the June 17 shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine people dead.

The main suspect in the case, Dylann Storm Roof, was seen in photos that emerged later waving a Confederate flag, and calls erupted for the Confederate flag on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds to be removed, including from Gov. Nikki Haley (R).

The South Carolina Senate voted Monday to remove the flag from the Statehouse grounds. The state House will begin debate on the issue Wednesday.

The Gallup survey of 2,013 U.S. adults was conducted July 1-5 with a margin of error of 3 points.

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