NFL Favorability Poll: Surprising Results From New Survey

NFL popularity ratings among football fans have taken a huge hit, according to a new poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters taken in late August and then again in late September.

The National Football League is also now supposedly the least favored of the major professional sports, with a 40 percent unfavorable rating (previously 23 percent unfavorable).

The Winston Group, a Washington, D.C. firm, compiled the data for the Washington Examiner.

“From the end of August to the end of September, the favorable ratings for the NFL have dropped from 57 percent to 44 percent, and it has the highest unfavorable rating – 40 percent – of any big sport…”

Perhaps most significantly, among the NFL’s core audience, males in the 34-54 age group, approval “went from an August rating of 73 percent favorable and 19 percent unfavorable to 42 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable, a remarkable turn against the sport.”

Major League Baseball, despite its ongoing issues with pace of play, is supposedly the most popular sport, according to the same findings from the Winston Poll.

For whatever reason or combination of reasons, including the take-a-knee national anthem protests, NFL television viewership has dropped 11 percent year over year, the Daily Mail noted.

The protests were actually dying down until President Trump’s “SOB” riff at an Alabama political rally, which prompted the NFL industry collective to respond with various kinds of on-field demonstrations by players, coaches, and owners. The controversy is again dying down, although Vice President and former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — whose son is a U.S. Marine — walked out of San Francisco 49ers-Indianapolis Colts game today in Indy after some 49ers players took a knee during the anthem.

The president has repeatedly condemned the protests on his Twitter feed.

NBA players have already announced that they will stand for Star-Spangled Banner during the 2017-2018 season.

The Winston Group findings seem to be consistent with other recent NFL-related public opinion polls.

For example, a survey from the Morning Consult public opinion firm claims that the favorability of the NFL brand dropped from 30 percent to 17 percent since September 21. The findings also suggested that 33 percent of Trump voters now have an unfavorable view of the league (previously it was just 11 percent). Americans also have changed their view about whether the NFL plays a positive role in their community. Only 35 percent feel that way, down from 45 percent in mid September.


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A national survey by Kansas City-based Remington Research Group of about 2,000 voters claims that America is on Trump’s side. Among the findings, nearly two-thirds of respondents in the public opinion survey indicated that NFL players should stand while the national anthem is being played as part of pre-game ceremonies. Of the 51 percent of the respondents who said they are now watching less football, about 70 percent noted that it was because players are using the games “as a stage for their political views.”

NFL now viewed unfavorably even by its core audience: poll

Have recent events changed the way you feel about the NFL and/or the time you ordinarily spend watching football games on television or your interest in attending a game in person?

[Featured Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images]