I’m now prepared to concede that Jamelle Bouie is right and Haley Barbour deserves praise rather than mockery for endorsing Union victory in the Civil War last month. Public Policy Polling’s latest numbers make it clear that this remains a controversial stand in Mississippi in particular and among southern conservatives more generally:
In Georgia 47% of Republicans are content with the Union victory, while 31% wish the South had won. Democrats (58/17) and independents (54/19) are both strongly supportive of the North, making the overall numbers 53/23. In North Carolina GOP voters are almost evenly divided on the outcome of the war with 35% glad for the North’s victory, 33% ruing the South’s loss, and 32% taking neither side. Democrats (55/15) and independents (57/14) have similar numbers to Georgia but due to the greater ambivalence of Republicans about the northern victory, overall less than half of Tar Heel voters (48%) are glad the Union won to 21% who wish the Confederacy had. In Mississippi no group of the electorate seems all that enthused about the North having won. Republicans, by a 38/21 margin, outright wish the South had won. Democrats (39/22) and independents (49/15) side with the North but compared to those voter groups in North Carolina and Georgia they’re pretty ambivalent. Overall just 34% of voters in the state are glad the Union prevailed to 27% who wish the rebels had been victorious.
Absurd as it sounds, this makes it seem like Union victory in the Civil War could be a useful wedge issue for North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan as she heads into what’s sure to be a very difficult 2014 re-election campaign.