For Immediate Release: 02/24/05
Charleston County Voters Overwhelmingly Support Preservation of Morris Island
Seven out of ten Charleston County voters support preservation of Morris Island
(Charleston, S.C.) - A public opinion poll commissioned by the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) reveals that Charleston County voters overwhelmingly support preservation of historic Morris Island. According to the poll, 71 percent of those surveyed advocate protection of the barrier island, located just outside Charleston Harbor.
"The numbers speak for themselves — Charleston County wants Morris Island preserved," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "This poll makes it abundantly clear that county voters recognize the importance of Morris Island, as both a historic and a natural resource."
In the telephone survey, Charleston County voters were asked several questions related to preservation of Morris Island. In every case, a majority expressed strong support for protection of the island. Nearly two-thirds of those questioned noted that they are personally interested in the Civil War and historical events that occurred in Charleston. Sixty-nine percent stated they were aware of the historic importance of Morris Island.
Likewise, respondents expressed a very negative view toward plans to develop the Island. According to the survey, 77 percent of county voters oppose plans by a Greenville, S.C. developer to rezone the island to allow for construction of 20 luxury homes. Only 8 percent supported the development proposal.
In addition, 71 percent of those surveyed favored preservation of Morris Island so it can never be developed. Seventy-seven percent stated that Charleston County should vote to ban development on Morris Island. Only 13 percent expressed disapproval for such a ban.
Voters also recognized that Morris Island is a valuable environmental habitat as well as a battlefield. Eighty percent of those polled said that they support preservation of the island for its importance as a habitat for endangered wildlife.
The survey also confirmed that strong support exists for further Charleston County involvement in preservation. Eight out of ten respondents stated that the county has a responsibility to protect Morris Island and other historic resources in the county. Seventy-seven percent of those polled revealed that they would be more likely to support public officials who advocate preservation of Morris Island.
"The poll results confirm what we already knew," noted Blake Hallman, spokesperson for the Morris Island Coalition, a coalition of nonprofit groups (including CWPT) that seeks to preserve the island battlefield. "Charlestonians want Morris Island preserved for future generations. They don't want to look out on the horizon and see houses on land where brave men once fought and bled."
The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Research, Inc. from February 16-17, 2005. A total of 400 registered voters were interviewed countywide by telephone. For verification or questions concerning methodology, contact Brad Coker at (904) 261-2444. Margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points.
Morris Island, located just a few hundred yards from Fort Sumter, was the scene of some of the most intense fighting of the Civil War. From its shores the siege of Charleston was conducted for 19 bloody months. It was also here that the charge of the famous African American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts, occurred. The event was immortalized in the 1990 film Glory.
With 70,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.