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Poll: Move S.C. Confederate Flag

January 22, 2000

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ Removing the Confederate flag from atop the Capitol dome has the support of about half of South Carolina’s residents, a new poll shows.

Of those questioned, 52 percent favored moving the flag off the dome, 37 percent opposed a move and 11 percent were undecided.

When respondents were given three options _ keeping the flag flying, taking it down or putting it elsewhere on Statehouse grounds _ 49 percent favored moving it to a memorial and 21 percent said it should be removed altogether. Only 25 percent wanted to keep it flying, and 5 percent were undecided.

The telephone poll of 623 registered voters was commissioned by The (Charleston) Post and Courier and several South Carolina television stations. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Mason Dixon Polling and Research Co. of Washington interviewed people on Tuesday and Wednesday following a Martin Luther King Day rally Monday at the Statehouse that drew about 48,000 people.

``I think the poll clearly reflects what we’ve (NAACP) been saying all along,″ said Dwight James, executive director of the South Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. ``More people have taken the opportunity to stop and think about what it means to African-Americans.″

Gov. Jim Hodges is trying to negotiate a compromise, which could include moving the flag to a memorial on Statehouse grounds.

``I think it reflects flag fatigue,″ Sen. Glenn McConnell, a Charleston Republican and flag supporter, said of the poll results. ``I think people are tired of hearing about it and are looking for a settlement.″

The banner was raised in 1962 during the civil rights movement and the Civil War centennial. Opponents say it represents racism and slavery, while supporters say it is an important emblem of the state’s heritage.

The poll results showed that 51 percent of those questioned believed the flag symbolizes Southern heritage and pride, down from 65 percent in a poll taken in 1994.

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