The National Football League is taking some hits these days. A new Fox News Poll finds that since 2013, the league’s favorable rating has dropped 18 points.
Today, 46 percent of voters have a positive view of the N.F.L. while 41 percent view it negatively. Four years ago (the last time the question was asked), 64 percent had a positive view of the league and 19 percent were critical.
“If the NFL were a political candidate, alarm bells would be going off in campaign headquarters,” says Democratic Pollster Chris Anderson who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Pollster Daron Shaw.
The downward shift on favorability comes mainly from Republicans (-37 points), whites (-23 points), men (-23 points), and independents (-14 points).
Majorities of Democrats and nonwhites continue to have a favorable view of the N.F.L, yet there’s also a drop in favorability among these groups. Positive sentiment among Democrats is down 6 points (66 percent in 2013 to 60 percent now) while among nonwhites it is down 3 (64-61 percent).
N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell made clear in an October 10 letter to team executives that the league thinks “everyone should stand for the National Anthem.” Americans, however, are increasingly more likely to think kneeling is an appropriate form of protest.
Forty-four percent think kneeling during the national anthem is appropriate, up from 41 percent who felt that way last month and 32 percent who said so last September. Sill, a majority thinks it is inappropriate (52 percent).
Most Republicans (88 percent inappropriate vs. 12 percent appropriate), baby boomers (61-33 percent), men (60-37 percent), and whites (60-38 percent) think kneeling during the national anthem is inappropriate.
The opposite is true for Democrats (67 percent appropriate vs. 27 percent inappropriate), millennials (65-32 percent), and nonwhites (61-30 percent) who think kneeling is an apt form of protest.
Women (50 percent appropriate vs. 45 percent inappropriate) and independents (46-50 percent) are more divided on the issue.
Voters who have an unfavorable opinion of the N.F.L overwhelmingly think kneeling is inappropriate (78 percent), while those who view the NFL favorably think it’s appropriate (62 percent).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,005 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 22-24, 2017. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.