Kicking Off Football Season With a New Poll

Majority of Voters Find NFL Player Protests During National Anthem Unpatriotic, Say College Student-Athletes Should Be Allowed to Get Paid, Profit From Their Likeness

With the NFL season set to begin this week, our newest poll finds more than half of registered voters (57%) believe NFL player protests during the National Anthem are unpatriotic. 86 percent of Republicans found the protests unpatriotic, followed by 57 percent of Independents and 33 percent of Democrats.

Our study found that of those who view player protests as unpatriotic, more than 80 percent agree with President Trump that players who kneel or stay in the locker room during the National Anthem should be suspended or fired. Overall, 80 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Independents and 22 percent of Democrats find the National Anthem protests both unpatriotic and support President Trump’s position.

More than a third of respondents (37%) said they have become less interested in the NFL compared to just five years ago. Of those, 75 percent of them say it is unpatriotic to protest during the National Anthem, and 70 percent of them agree with POTUS’ stance on the player protests.

Other highlights include:
  • 53 percent of respondents believe college student-athletes should be allowed to get paid or profit from their likeness.
  • Nearly 70 percent of all respondents would let their children play tackle football.
  • 55 percent of all respondents view other sports just as risky for children to play as football.
  • The Cleveland Browns are the NFL’s loveable losers, among regular NFL watchers. Of the four teams with the longest playoff droughts, 29 percent of respondents would like to see the Browns make the playoffs this year, followed by the Chicago Bears (21%), New York Jets (19%), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11%).
  • Among regular NFL viewers, commissioner Roger Goodell has a 48 percent approval rating.
  • 46 percent of all respondents preferred to watch the NFL compared to 39 percent who preferred college.

“The NFL’s National Anthem protest problem is likely to continue to persist this season,” said Pop Polling Managing Director Macy Cambio. “With a strong majority of voters agreeing with President Trump that player protests are unpatriotic, the NFL is going to have to walk a fine line between allowing player protests on the field and further alienating their fan base off of it.”


Full football study results here.