Meanwhile, at least nine out of ten Republicans, compared with about four in ten Democrats, see each of these as a manifestation of Southern pride, rather than of racism.
Attitudes often national, rather than regional
Americans’ views on the legacy of the Confederacy and racism are only moderately affected by the region in which they live.
Nearly one in four Americans fully support monument reform, believing that Confederate monuments are symbols of racism and should be removed. This includes 22% of Americans in the South. Strong opposition to monument reform—the belief that Confederate monuments are symbols of Southern pride and should be left as they are—follows a similar trend, with 18% of Americans and 20% of residents in the South fully opposed.
“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,” says Scott Hutcheson, managing director of E Pluribus Unum. “Identifying what unites us will help us find solutions to undo the legacy of slavery and racism and move toward building more inclusive and equitable communities.”
Consensus on celebrating community diversity in public spaces
Nearly all Americans (96%) agree that a community’s public spaces and buildings should be open and welcoming to people of all races and backgrounds. Additionally, three-quarters of Americans (76%), including 65% of Republicans, feel a special sense of pride when they see their community’s diversity celebrated in public monuments and art.
When asked what values should guide the creation of new monuments, there is notable cross-partisan agreement that service and contributions to the community should be honored. Yet, Americans are divided along party lines over what values that should guide the creation of new monuments. Republicans are most likely to support monuments dedicated to patriotism (65%) and American exceptionalism (40%), while Democrats support monuments dedicated to the U.S. as a nation of immigrants (50%) and racial equality (48%).
White Christian groups notably placed a high value on patriotism, and white evangelical Protestants stood out for their support for American exceptionalism (37%) as one of the most important values that should guide the creation of new public monuments.
Broad support for truth-telling and repairing the damage of racist histories
Almost all Americans (90%) say they support efforts to tell the truth about the history of slavery, violence, and discrimination against racial minorities in their communities, including 84% of Republicans. Additionally, three quarters of Americans (74%) support repairing the damage done by past violence or discrimination against racial minorities, including more than half of Republicans (52%).
Yet, Republicans are outliers in opposing concrete efforts to address these legacies. Nearly two thirds of Americans (64%), for example, favor local governments providing mortgage assistance to people or descendants of people who can prove that they were denied home loans because of their race, but this policy is supported by only 38% of Republicans.
The full report, Creating More Inclusive Public Spaces: Confederate Memorials, Structural Racism, and Building for the Future, is available on PRRI’s website.
The survey was designed and conducted by PRRI and was made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation. PRRI surveyed a representative sample of 5,021 adults (age 18 and up) living in all 50 states who are part of the Ipsos KnowledgePanel and an additional 418 who were recruited by Ipsos using opt-in survey panels to increase the sample sizes in 13 Southern states. Interviews were conducted online between June 10 and 29, 2022. The margin of error for the national survey is +/- 1.7 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence, including the design effect for the survey of 1.6. In addition to sampling error, surveys may also be subject to error or bias due to question wording, context, and order effects.