Majority in US poll want to keep Confederate monuments
NEW YORK: A majority of Americans think Confederate monuments should be preserved in public spaces, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, a view that is at odds with efforts in many cities to remove them.
The Aug 18-21 poll found that 54 per cent of adults said Confederate monuments "should remain in all public spaces" while 27 per cent said they "should be removed from all public spaces." Another 19 per cent said they "don't know".
Responses to the poll were sharply split along racial and party lines, however, with whites and Republicans largely supportive of preservation. Democrats and minorities were more likely to support removal.
Cities across the US are debating what to do with hundreds of statues, plaques and other monuments to the slave-holding Confederacy.
Some monuments have already been removed this year in cities like New Orleans and Baltimore.
The poll also found that the public was almost evenly divided over the deadly "Unite the Right" rally that was called to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The rally was organised by white nationalists and drew members of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists, as well as left-leaning counter-protesters.
It quickly erupted into violence, and a 32-year-old woman was killed after a car ploughed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
The man who police said was driving the car was described by a former teacher as having been "infatuated" with Nazi ideology.
There were people among both camps who came carrying sticks and shields.
US President Donald Trump later blamed "both sides" for the conflict.
"You had a group on one side that was bad," he said. "And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent."
His comments were met with a chorus of rebukes across the political spectrum, including Republican Party bosses and business leaders.
Mr Trump later disbanded two presidential business advisory groups after a growing number of CEO members quit to protest against his comments, and all 17 members of his arts and humanities committee also resigned. - REUTERS