A large majority of Americans don't want the Washington Redskins to change their name, despite recent aggressive campaigns against the "racist" name by the likes of Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.).
A new ESPN poll found 71 percent said it "should not" be changed. This suggests more acceptance for the name across the country than in the D.C. area, where last year a Washington Post poll found that 66 percent supported the name.
Over the past few decades, support has primarily dropped among Democrats, while around 90 percent of Republicans have favored the name for the past two decades.
According to the Washington Post:
The basic question of whether "Redskins" is offensive stands at the core of support for keeping the name. The poll found 28 percent saying the Redskins’ name shows disrespect to Native Americans, while 68 percent said it does not. Among those who find the name offensive, 63 percent support changing the name. But among the majority who say the name does not show "any disrespect," 90 percent support keeping the name.
Convincing the broader public "Redskin" is a racial slur has proven difficult for opponents of the team’s name, and quality data on Native Americans’ attitudes have been scarce. While dozens of Native American organizations and tribes have endorsed a name change, the sports franchise has repeatedly cited a 2004 national survey finding 90 percent of self-identified Native Americans said the name was not offensive. While a recent survey of Powwow attendees in California found far more opposition to the Redskins name and suggested attitudes may have changed, no rigorous survey has tested Native American attitudes on a national level.
The Redskins spokesman called the results "skewed negatively" but welcomed the findings:
"The ESPN poll methodology is obviously skewed negatively but it still shows three to four times more support for keeping the name. Thanks to all of the Players, Coaches and fans over the last 82 years, we are fortunate to always be recognized as one of the most popular sports teams in the world. We are looking forward to our season opener in Houston on Sunday."