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When it comes to Confederate monuments, poll finds some common ground across racial lines

PETERSBURG, Va. — A new Mason-Dixon Virginia poll has found a majority of Virginia voters oppose removal of Confederate monuments. They believe the monument are an important part of American history.

More than half of those polled (52 percent) oppose removing statues of Confederate generals, such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. If more people (62 percent) oppose removing local monuments to Confederate soldiers who served or died during the war.

“When asked if they associated these monuments more with American history or with the glorification of racism and resistance to civil rights, 55 percent said history and 37 percent said racism,” the pollsters said. “But, a majority of state voters (54 percent) also support efforts to provide additional interpretation and context to existing Confederate monuments to tell a more inclusive story of their history.”

Opinion, as you can imagine, divided along racial lines.

“A majority of African-American voters support removal of statues of Confederate leaders (57 percent) and believe Confederate monuments represent racism and civil rights resistance (65 percent),” the poll found. “However, slightly less than half (49 percent) support removing statutes honoring common soldiers.”

Despite those difference, there were issues where people of different races could agree.

“When it comes to expanding the removal of statues to other historical figures, who are not tied to the Confederacy but owned slaves before the Civil War (such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson), opposition is extremely high across the board — 86 percent statewide and 77 percent among black voters,” the poll found. “Voters across racial lines also agree that removing the statues is not a good use of public money (67 percent statewide and 58 percent among blacks) and that the local governments who decide to remove statutes should be responsible for shouldering the cost (60 percent statewide and 53 percent among African-Americans).”

Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. polled 625 registered Virginia voters to determine these results. The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ± 4 percentage points.