According to a new poll by Fox News, the NFL is seeing double-digit drops in popularity.
Fox Business reported that since the last time the poll was taken four years ago, the NFL has seen an 18 point drop in its approval rating, while it has seen a 22 point increase in its disapproval rating.
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.
This unpopularity shift is an across the board drop be it by politics, race, or sex, but the declining view of the NFL is primarily driven by Republicans.
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).
“If the NFL were a political candidate, alarm bells would be going off in campaign headquarters,” says Democratic Pollster Chris Anderson who helped conduct the poll alongside Republican Pollster Daron Shaw.
Oddly, despite the drop in approval, the idea that kneeling during the National Anthem is appropriate is on the rise. However, a majority of people still think taking a knee during the Star Spangled Banner is still inappropriate. This is primarily split between party lines, with Democrats believing it to be appropriate.
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.
The NFL has suffered blowback as a result of the unpopular kneeling controversies. DirecTV has had to issue refunds to angry customers who bought NFL ticket packages.
And while the games themselves have up and down ratings, many tend to see double-digit drops in viewership compared to 2016.