One question among the many asked by Public Policy Polling last weekend in Mississippi says a lot about others' perceptions of the state.
“If there were another Civil War today, would you side with the Confederate States of America or the United States of America?” the pollsters from Raleigh, N.C., asked 691 Mississippians via automated phone calls.
The answer: 50 percent U.S., 29 percent CSA and 21 percent not sure.
Among men, the gap closes to 40 percent U.S., 39 percent CSA. Women favor the U.S. 58-20 percent.
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Only 2 percent of African-Americans would join the CSA.
By political party, 82 percent of Democrats would back the U.S. and 41 percent of Republicans would; 37 percent of Republicans would back the CSA compared to 9 percent of Democrats.
Among the candidates in the bitter GOP race for U.S. Senate, 61 percent of Thad Cochran supporters back the U.S. while 22 percent back the CSA.
Among McDaniel’s supporters, 38 percent back the U.S. and 37 percent back the CSA.
I know there is some anti-federal government sentiment out there, but I was surprised it was this strong. But, even more than that, I was surprised that question even has relevance in this day and age. I hadn't seen a poll where that was asked -- ever.
So I emailed the pollsters and asked them if it was their idea or someone else's. (They openly solicit poll questions on their website).
This is Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling's answer:
"We asked it because of McDaniel's neoconfederate ties to get a sense of how broad that sentiment is within his support base."
You could say this answers another question, one not asked in the poll: Do you think the U.S. Senate race has tarnished the state's image?
When contact about the poll, McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch replied, "Scraping bottom, huh?"
Mother Jones reported in October that McDaniels had spoken to the Jones County chapter of the Sons of Confederate veterans, a report his campaign disputed, saying he was at the American Legislative Exchange Council at the time of the August meeting. But it did not dispute that he had spoken to the group earlier in 2013 .
In June, Fox News reported the McDaniel campaign returned an $800 donation to Carl Ford, who it described as a Mississippi secessionist who was part of the defense team representing a Klansman convicted in 1998 of murdering a 1960s civil rights leader during the fight to desegregate the state.