Mississippi Takes a Huge Step Back on Race

Forty-six percent of Mississippi Republicans think interracial marriage should be outlawed.

Posted: 04/08/2011 05:36 PM EDT

Despite Mississippi’s recent growing mixed race population, some are still holding on to 1960s-era thinking when it comes to interracial marriage.

According to a recent survey, 46 percent of Mississippi Republicans believed that interracial marriage should be illegal. Fourteen percent of those asked said they weren’t sure.

The poll numbers are an interesting contrast to what has actually been occurring in the state over the past decade. Recent Census data indicates that Mississippi’s mixed-race population – which is an indicator of mixed race relationships — shot up 70 percent in the last 10 years. The trend was widespread across the South, where several states saw big jumps as well. A couple of Midwest states — Indiana and Iowa— saw their mixed-race population skyrocket 70 percent too

Mississippi legalized interracial race marriage only 45 years ago, and multi-race people are still a tiny portion of the state’s population overall (1.1 percent) but it seems as if change is starting to catch up with the state. Whether residents are ready or not.

The telephone poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, asked 400 GOP primary voters about political candidates, as well as their thoughts about mixed race marriage. The questions were asked late last month and the results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

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