Georgians Want to Weigh in on the State Flag According to UGA’s Peach State Poll

ATHENS, Ga. – A majority of Georgians (53 percent) want the chance to vote on which flag should represent their state, and 52 percent believe that a referendum will help “heal the state.” At the same time, three in five Georgians (60 percent) agree with the statement that “there is no problem with the current state flag.” Clearly the process by which the current flag was adopted is more of an issue than the flag itself; 52 percent of the public either strongly oppose (34 percent) or somewhat oppose (18 percent) the way the current state flag was adopted in 2001.

While more than three-quarters of respondents (76 percent) to a recent Peach State Poll survey say they follow news about the state flag, about two-thirds (67 percent) are more likely to say that the flag controversy is more of a distraction from important state issues than it is an important issue in its own right, worthy of debate (26 percent).

The Peach State Poll is a statewide quarterly survey of public opinion conducted by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Other survey results:

* When given the options of the pre-1956 state flag, the 1956 to January 2001 flag, or the current flag, 35 percent of the public have no preference at this point for one state flag over any other.

* Of those who have a preference among those three flags, a plurality (42 percent) prefer the pre-1956 flag, followed by the current flag (35 percent); only 18 percent of respondents expressing a preference choose the flag that flew over the capitol from 1956 to 2001.

* Seventy-nine percent of African-Americans surveyed either strongly agree (59 percent) or somewhat agree (20 percent) that the flag adopted in 1956 is “a symbol of Georgia’s segregationist history.” Only 47 percent of white respondents shared that view.

These data are taken from a Peach State Poll survey conducted between March 31 and April 6, 2003. The poll included 800 telephone interviews of randomly selected adults in Georgia. For a sample of this size, the margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3.5 percent.

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government, a public service and outreach unit of the University of Georgia, has as part of its mission to provide policymakers with systematic, objective research to inform policy decisions. In accordance with that mission, the Peach State Poll aims to give voice to the public on important policy matters and issues pertaining to political, social, and economic life in Georgia.

For more information on this survey or other Peach State Poll results, see www.cviog.uga.edu/peachpoll.