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Civitas Poll Finds Overwhelming Disapproval for Toppling of Silent Sam

Support for legally removing statue is split.
September 12, 2018


RALEIGH, N.C. – Today the Civitas Institute released a statewide poll in which 70 percent of likely voters disapprove of the toppling of Silent Sam, a Confederate monument, by protestors at the University of North Carolina on August 20.

Total approval sat at 22 percent, while 9 percent stated they were unsure or refused to answer the question.
The exact text of the question read:

As you may know, protestors recently toppled a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier, known as Silent Sam, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Do you approve or disapprove of the crowd toppling the Silent Sam statue?

Total Approve  22% 
Total Disapprove  70% 
Strongly approve 12%
Somewhat approve 10%
Somewhat disapprove 16%
Strongly disapprove 54%
Unsure/Refused 9%

“The opinion of likely voters on the specific instance of Silent Sam is overwhelming disapproval.” said Civitas President Donald Bryson. “While many still favor the legal removal of Confederate monuments and statues, the actions of the protesters are a step too far for most in the Tar Heel State.”

While seven-in-ten voters disapprove of the toppling of Silent Sam, ideologically, only self-identified very liberal voters have a net approval of the actions of the Silent Sam protesters. Opinion in the Raleigh-Durham market, where the protests took place, is virtually unchanged from the state as a whole.

Voters were then asked:

And, regardless of your feelings regarding the Silent Sam statue, do you favor or oppose legally removing Confederate monuments and memorials?

Total Favor  39% 
Total Oppose  50% 
Strongly favor 26%
Somewhat favor 13%
Somewhat oppose 10%
Strongly oppose 40%
Unsure/Refused 10%

A slim majority of voters disapprove of removing Confederate monuments under law. However, self-identified moderates, somewhat liberals, senior citizens, and voters in the Raleigh-Durham media market disapprove of the Silent Sam toppling but favor the removal of Confederate monuments.

Methodology: The sample size for the survey is 500 likely voters in North Carolina and the margin of error is +/- 4.4%. Responses were gathered via landline and mobile telephone interviews conducted by live callers at a professional call center. The survey was conducted September 4-7, 2018 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.


Poll Highlights

Legally Removing Confederate Monuments

Illegally Toppling Silent Sam

For questions, or to arrange an interview, please contact Brooke Medina, communications director, at

Civitas has conducted live-caller voting in North Carolina since May 2005, and we are the only public policy organization offering statewide independent, nonpartisan data on a regular basis. Our polls have provided vital insights on what North Carolina voters think of the leaders and issues facing the state and nation.

Founded in 2005, the Civitas Institute is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization committed to advancing conservative ideas and shrinking the size of government. Civitas fights to eliminate government barriers to freedom so that North Carolinians can live a better life.

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