A majority of Americans see the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride, not as a symbol of racism.
However, there is a clear racial divide on how the rebel flag is perceived and what should be done about it and other references to the Confederacy.
According to a new CNN/ORC poll, 57 percent of all sampled adults say the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern pride. Thirty-three percent called it more a symbol of racism and five percent said it is both equally. Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of blacks view the Confederate flag as more of a symbol of racism, while two-thirds (66 percent) of whites view it as a symbol of pride.
Public opinion about the flag now is about where it was 15 years ago. In May 2009, 59 percent of Americans viewed the Confederate flag as symbol of Southern pride. Sixty-nine percent said the same in December 1992 — both according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
A majority of Americans (68 percent) oppose naming streets and highways after Confederate leaders — a notion that draws support from both whites (71 percent) and non-whites (61 percent).
However, Americans are more split on what they think private companies such as Amazon and Wal-Mart should do when it comes to not selling or manufacturing things featuring the Confederate flag.
Just 50 percent of all Americans support companies choosing not to sell or manufacture such merchandise. Whites are less likely (49 percent) to support companies who choose to do this, compared to blacks (65 percent) who support the decision.
Whites are also less likely (35 percent) to support redesigning state flags that feature Confederate emblems or symbols to remove references to the Confederacy than blacks (59 percent). Overall, only 40 percent of Americans support this notion.
A majority of Americans (55 percent) however do support removing Confederate flags from government property that is not part of a museum. Though blacks were more likely than whites to support doing this, 73 percent to 50 percent.
The telephone-based poll of roughly 1,000 Americans was conducted June 26-28 with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The poll comes as both Americans and lawmakers tussle over what to do with the Confederate flag and symbols of the Confederacy on display in different facets of life.
The Confederate flag has been under scrutiny for the past few weeks after a shooter — who had previously posed in photos with the Confederate flag and allegedly said he wanted to start a "racial war" — took the lives of nine worshippers at an African-American church in South Carolina.