By a margin of more than 3 to 1, Virginia voters say the Washington Redskins should not change the team name, according to a statewide survey released today by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.
Overall, 71% of voters support keeping the name, which has been challenged as racist, while 21% said it should be changed. Asked if the name is offensive to Native American Indians, 68% said no, and 23% said yes.
Political party identification barely changed the results. Republicans (72%) were just slightly more likely than Democrats (69%) or Independents (68%) to say the team shouldnâ€™t change its name. Likewise, comparable majorities of Republicans (70%), Democrats (66%) and Independents (67%) said the name Redskins is not offensive to Native American Indians.
â€œItâ€™s hard to find 71 percent of Virginia voters agreeing on anything,â€ said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy. â€œBut support for the Redskinsâ€™ name clearly draws together people of different political stripes who would otherwise be at crossed swords, like it draws together members of the General Assembly from different parties.â€
Comparing results by race and sex showed some differences, but still strong support for the Redskinsâ€™ name. For example, 60% of African-Americans said the name is not offensive, compared with 70% of white voters, and 61% of African-American voters said the team should keep the name, compared with 73% of white voters. Among women, 66% said the name is not offensive, compared with 70% of men; 69% of women surveyed said the team should keep the name, compared with 74% of men.
Virginia voters favor the Redskins by far among pro football teams, with 34% saying they follow the team. The next highest team is the Dallas Cowboys at 9%. Nearly a quarter of Virginia voters (22%) said they donâ€™t follow any pro football team.
â€œWith the creation in June of the bipartisan â€˜Redskins Pride Caucusâ€™ by several members of the Virginia General Assembly, we at the Wason Center thought it was high time to find out what Virginia voters think about the Redskins name controversy,â€ Kidd said.