So the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling outfit posed a revealing question to Mississippi Republicans in their latest survey: "Do you think interracial marriage should be legal or illegal?"
Shockingly, 46 percent of the state's GOP voters replied "illegal." 14 percent bizarrely responded "not sure." That means about 60 percent of these Southern Republicans are hearkening back to a time--1958 to be exact--when the American mainstream overwhelmingly looked down on people with different shades of skin getting married.
For some context, in 2007 Gallup conducted a nationwide survey finding that 77 percent of Americans approved of interracial marriage and only 17 percent explicitly disapproved. At the time, Gallup pointed out that in 1958 only 4 percent of Americans favored interracial marriage and that as late as 1994 less than half of Americans approved. But as their chart shows, support had been rising rapidly ever since.
Interestingly, Public Policy Polling crunched the numbers to get a picture of which candidates intolerant voters preferred in the GOP primary. The verdict? Sarah Palin probably won't be pleased: "Palin's net favorability with folks who think interracial marriage should be illegal (+55 at 74/19) is 17 points higher than it is with folks who think interracial marriage should be legal."
Meanwhile, in a field that includes Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and others, the candidate who had the lowest favorability among among GOP voters who think interracial marriage should be illegal was Mitt Romney. "Tells you something about the kinds of folks who like each of those candidates," PPP's blog mused.
As a follow up, the polling outfit told Salon that they plan on releasing statistics among Republican voters for a question phrased in this vein: Do you believe the right side won the civil war? Expect some ensuing debate on both the PPP's interracial marriage results and the follow up.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.