July 23, 2008
UTICA, New York – One in five American adults – 22% – believe that any state or region has the right to “peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic,” a new Middlebury Institute/Zogby International telephone poll shows.
"I believe any state or region has the right to peaceably secede and become an independent republic:" Agree 22% Disagree 73% Not sure 5%
The level of support for the right of secession was consistent in every region in the country, though the percentage was slightly higher in the South (26%) and the East (24%). The figures were also consistent for every age group, but backing was strongest among younger adults, as 40% among those age 18 to 24 and 24% among those age 25 to 34 agreed states and regions have secession rights.
Broken down by race, the highest percentage agreeing with the right to secede was among Hispanics (43%) and African-Americans (40%). Among white respondents, 17% said states or regions should have the right to peaceably secede.
"I believe the United States' system is broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two-party politics and elections": Agree 44% Disagree 53% Not sure 3%
Politically, liberal thinkers were much more likely to favor the right to secession for states and regions, as 32% of mainline liberals agreed with the concept. Among the very liberal the support was only slightly less enthusiastic – 28% said they favored such a right. Meanwhile, just 17% of mainline conservatives thought it should exist as an option for states or regions of the nation.
Asked whether they would support a secessionist movement in their own state, 18% said they would, with those in the South most likely to say they would back such an effort. In the South, 24% said they would support such an effort, while 15% in the West and Midwest said the same. Here, too, younger adults were more likely than older adults to be supportive – 35% of those under age 30 would support secession in their state, compared to just 17% of those over age 65. Among African Americans, 33% said they would support secession, compared to just 15% of white adults. The more education a respondent had, the less likely they were to support secession – as 38% of those with less than a high school diploma would support it, compared to just 10% of those with a college degree.
"I would support a secessionist effort in my state:" Agree 18% Disagree 72% Not sure 10%
To gauge the extent to which support for secession comes from a sense that the nation’s current system is not working, a separate question was asked about agreement that “the United States’ system is broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two-party politics and elections.” Nearly half of respondents agreed with this statement, with 27% who somewhat agree and 18% who strongly agree.
The telephone poll, conducted by Zogby International, included 1,209 American adult respondents. It was conducted July 9-13, 2008, and carries a margin of error of ± 2.9 per cent.
The sponsor of the poll was the Middlebury Institute, a think tank for “the study of separatism, secession, and self-determination,” based in Cold Spring, NY. Their website address is: MiddleburyInstitute.org. Also at Zogby Poll page.
For content, contact: Kirkpatrick Sale, Director, Middlebury Institute, at 845-265-3158 or Director@MiddleburyInstitute.org
For methodology, contact: Fritz Wenzel, 315-624-0200 ext. 229 or 419-205-0287 or firstname.lastname@example.org