According to a new poll released by Meredith College Monday, more than three-fifths of North Carolina voters support keeping Confederate monuments on public grounds. What's more, nearly that many believe the statues are "important monuments to North Carolina's past," while just 24 percent believe that they are monuments to racism.
These numbers, consistent with other polls, could make it harder for Governor Cooper to convince the N.C. Historical Commission to remove three Confederate monuments on the grounds of the state capitol. But, more interesting, stark demographic divisions frame not just the monuments debate but also debates surrounding DACA, North Korea, and climate change.
So, for instance, while 70 percent of white voters, and almost 80 percent of members of the "silent generation" (those born from the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s), say that Confederate statues are important, more than half of black voters and almost 40 percent of millennials say they're symbols of racism. Likewise, roughly a quarter of whites (and a third of Republicans) believe President Trump should do "nothing" for Dreamers, but nearly 60 percent of Hispanics want Congress to create a pathway to citizenship, not just legal residency. Moreover, a plurality of whites agrees with Trump's decision to end DACA, while more than 75 percent of black and Hispanic voters think that decision was wrong. And more than two-thirds of millennials blame Trump for divisions in the country, while more than half of the silent generation thinks the protesters his administration has engendered are the problem.
None of this is particularly groundbreaking. As a rule, white people—white men, and especially older white men—lean culturally conservative; Democrats, especially nonwhite and millennial voters, stake out more progressive positions. It's also not entirely unexpected, given the social science research, that we tend to silo ourselves off from those with differing positions—though the degree to which we do so is somewhat startling.
In the poll, only 20 percent thought it informative to talk politics with those who have a different perception of Trump; more than 30 percent said they wouldn't bother.