Poll: Redskins should keep their name

redskins-helmetBy 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 shouldn’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.

“It’s hard to find 71 percent of Virginia voters agreeing on anything,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy. “But support for the Redskins’ 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.”

Comparing results by race and sex showed some differences, but still strong support for the Redskins’ 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 don’t follow any pro football team.

“With the creation in June of the bipartisan ‘Redskins Pride Caucus’ 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,” Kidd said.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.