Story at a glance
- A new survey found Americans’ views on Confederate monuments to be both complex and tied to religious and political preferences.
- Nearly three-quarters of Americans, however, support efforts to address Confederate memorials in public spaces.
- Both Democrats and Black Americans are more likely than others to note symbols of the Confederacy in their communities right now.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans support efforts to address Confederate memorials in public spaces, including adding historical context, moving them to museums or destroying them altogether, a new national survey found.
But a report from Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in partnership with E Pluribus Unum found Americans’ views on Confederate monuments to be both complex and tied to religious and political preferences.
“Race, religion, and political affiliation strongly color the lens through which Americans view our past and its legacy today,” Robert P. Jones, president and founder of PRRI, said in a statement.
“Yet, the broad support for honest conversations about our shared history, repairing the damages of historic racism, and reimagining our public spaces to embrace everyone can offer a road map for how and what our communities choose to honor in the future.”
While slightly more than half of those surveyed favored preserving the legacy of the Confederacy through public memorials and statues, there is a marked divide between the views of Democrats and Republicans. Eighty-five percent of Republicans support some efforts to preserve the memory of the Confederacy compared to just 26 percent of Democrats.
Both Democrats and Black Americans are more likely than others to be aware of symbols of the Confederacy in their communities.
Meanwhile, the survey showed white Christian groups were more likely to support the preservation of Confederate monuments compared to non-Christian religious Americans and those unaffiliated with a particular religious group.
But the survey found little regional difference between those who believe Confederate monuments are racist symbols and need to be removed, with 1 in 4 Americans holding this point of view — including 22 percent of Americans in the South.
“The impact of the Confederacy extends far beyond its former geographic borders. Still, while Americans experience issues around race differently, there is often more common ground than we realize,” said Scott Hutcheson, managing director of Strategy & Partnerships at E Pluribus Unum.
Nearly all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, support detailing the true history of slavery and racism in the U.S., although the survey notes Republicans were less likely to pinpoint concrete efforts to address injustices.
A report released earlier this year from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that 73 Confederate monuments were removed or renamed in 2021.
SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks said at the time it is common for memorials to be removed “in the wake of tragedy,” such as the death of George Floyd. But monuments removed in 2021 mark the greatest number in a year without a tragedy since the center began tracking in 2015.