Today is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s beginning, when secessionists fired on Union troops at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. According to a new poll from CNN, the Civil War’s legacy remains unresolved. The poll finds that Republicans and Tea Party supporters are more likely to support the Confederacy and confederate leaders than Democrats or Independents.
According to the poll, nearly one in four Americans sympathize with the Confederacy more than with the Union. That number grows to nearly four-in-ten among white Southerners. Among Tea Party members, 26 percent sympathize with the Confederacy more than the Union, and that number grows to 28 percent among Republicans.
Meanwhile, while respondents overall viewed slavery as the main reason for the war by a 54–42 margin, Tea Partiers and Republicans held different views. Fifty-two percent of Republicans believed slavery was not the main reason, and that number rose to 54 percent among Tea Partiers.
The poll comes at a time when Republicans and Tea Partiers are rehashing the battles that both led to and came out of the Civil War. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and others have come out in support of nullification laws. In both Texas and Tennessee, lawmakers have floated the possibility of secession. And across the country, Republicans have attempted to revoke the 14th Amendment guarantee of birthright citizenship. And, of course, there was Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) reference to the “Great War of Yankee Aggression” on the House floor.
Even though these battles are radical and out of the mainstream, it isn’t that shocking that these Republicans are attempting to refight them. According to these poll numbers, that’s exactly what large segments of their base want them to do.