PPP Poll: Georgia Conservatives Favor Paula Deen Over Martin Luther King Jr.

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 8 2013 3:00 PM

Georgia Conservatives Like Paula Deen More Than MLK (But Only Slightly!)

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Paula Deen, Georgia's most revered historical figure.

Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Public Policy Polling is out with more pretty-much-meaningless 2016 speculation for the media to munch on (only 29 months until the Iowa Caucuses!), so let's dig in. The meatier results: Georgians still oppose gay marriage, but as always there's an age gradient. Hillary leads Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan, is deadlocked with Jeb Bush, and slightly trails Chris Christie in favorability. But all that is upstaged by questions asking Georgians how they feel about historical southern icons—you know, William Tecumseh Sherman, Martin Luther King, Jr. ... Honey Boo Boo.

We asked Georgians their opinions about a number of current and historical figures in the state. Martin Luther King Jr. has a 73/15 favorability rating- it's 83/6 with Democrats but just 59/28 with Republicans. Paula Deen remains quite popular in her home state at a 54/21 spread- she's very popular with Republicans at 73/11 but seen positively by a plurality of Democrats at 40/33 as well.
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Or, more succinctly:

The full report is up here (PDF) but here are some morsels from the crosstabs. Along with the Deen-King comparison, respondents were asked about the "White Student Union" started by a Georgia State University student. Surprisingly, black and white respondents feel a little differently comparing Deen to the leader of the Civil Rights movement:

deen fav race
mlk fav race
white student race

Ideology:

deen fav ID
mlk fav ID
white student ID

Voted for Obama vs. Romney:

deen fav romney
mlk fav romney
white students romney

What does all this tell us? Sure, there are still a lot of bigots in the south (and everywhere) but there are also people who have a sense of irony and silliness. Posing Paula Deen as a foil for Rev. King is pretty #skewed in its own right, because using human punchlines like Deen and Honey Boo Boo in a poll like this begs smart alecks to express their "favor" for giggles. Do you want to continue seeing stories like this until 2016? Press 1 for yes, 2 for no.

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.