Winthrop Poll: Race relations in SC after Confederate flag’s removal

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Winthrop University recently survey 814 South Carolina residents by phone from April 3-24 to ask participates about their thoughts on race relations in the state.

According to the Winthrop Poll, 60% of both blacks and white said both groups are equally to blame. And 70% of all respondents – 69% white and 73% blacks – said both groups will need to equally change.

The poll also showed stark differences between how blacks and whites view the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. On a scale, 0 (“cool”) to 100 (“warm”), the average score for African-Americans was 75 while the average score for whites was 38.

When African-Americans were asked how they felt about police, using the same scale, the average feeling was 16 degrees “cooler” towards police than the white respondents.

The participants were also asked  how they would rate race relations in the United States. 41% of SC African-Americans said it was poor. In comparison, 69% of whites rated race relations as either good or only fair.

The SC African-American participants believe that racism is the most important problem facing the country, according to the Winthrop Poll.

Winthrop Poll Director, Scott Huffmon says, “In the past year or so, we have had multiple events that raise conversations about race in South Carolina. The time seemed right to take an accurate measure of where race relations in South Carolina really stand.”

Greenville’s NAACP President, JM Flemming said he didn’t need a poll to show him what’s already a daily reality.

“We know who we are, we know what we’re going through, living daily. It’s nothing surprising to us,” said Flemming. “The flag just come down last year. Hearts and minds have not changed from last year to now.”

The confederate flag took center stage in the poll’s line of questioning.

57% of white and 87% of black south carolinians still think it was the right move to bring it down last year. Tt was a direct response to the racially motivated killings of 9 black church goers at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church last summer.

Flemming said despite the step forward, we continue to circle round the same issues.

“There was the issue about the flag flying down at the citadel Tuesday of this week,” he said.

Governor’s Nikki Haley’s approval rating is at 59% among South Carolinians. Her support among Democratic African-Americans isn’t as positive; more than half (51%) approve of how she is doing her job as governor, according to the survey.

“Support among the mostly Democratic African-American population for a Republican governor may seem surprising, but it is likely that esteem for her rose among black South Carolinians because of the strong stance she took to remove the Confederate battle flag from the S.C. Statehouse grounds last year,” said Huffmon.

President Obama’s approval rating has risen to 45%, but still falls short of the national approval ratings of more than 50%. South Carolina African-Americans stand behind the first African-American Presidents with a 94% approval ratings, according to the Winthrop Poll.

To read more of the results found in The Winthrop Poll, click here.

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