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During state Senator Chris McDaniel’s unsuccessful primary challenge to Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), he often exhorted his supporters to “reclaim your country again.”

Thanks to a new Public Policy Polling survey, we may have a better idea of what he meant.

The poll, released Tuesday, finds that 37 percent of those who supported McDaniel in the Mississippi Republican primary runoff would support the Confederate states if there were a second Civil War. Just 38 percent would back the United States, and 25 percent were unsure.

Cochran supporters — a group that included many black Democrats — are a bit more patriotic: 61 percent would back the Union, while 22 percent would support the Confederacy and 17 percent are not sure.

Overall, 37 percent of Republicans who voted in the runoff would side with the Confederacy, and 41 percent would side with the United States; 21 percent couldn’t decide.

A smaller, but still significant minority seems to have an appetite for sparking such a conflict; 16 percent of runoff voters support the South seceding from the United States and forming its own country, while 63 percent oppose the idea, and 21 percent are not sure.

One in five McDaniel supporters back secession.

It’s not altogether surprising that many McDaniel supporters are nostalgic for the Confederacy; throughout the campaign, the conservative state senator was forced to distance himself from neo-Confederates and white supremacists.

PPP is known for including provocative questions in its polls, which occasionally toe the line of trolling the respondents. In 2013, for example, the pollster found that racist celebrity chef Paula Deen had a higher favorability in Georgia than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Overall, PPP found that Senator Cochran is in good shape for the general election. He leads former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, the Democratic nominee, by a 40 to 24 percent margin.

The PPP poll surveyed 501 Republican primary voters, all of whom said they voted in the runoff election. It has a +/- 3.7 percent margin of error.

H/t: Talking Points Memo

Photo: Stuart Seeger via Flickr

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Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.