In news that will shock only those who have spent the last week living in caves, the NFL’s favorability has taken a massive nosedive this week.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released this week shows that the league’s favorability has fallen from 30 percent on September 21 to a low of 17 percent only a week later.
The poll takers said that this month’s numbers are the lowest favorability ratings the poll has ever measured since it first began polling on the question.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump voters expressed an even harsher view. On September 21, 25 percent of Trump voters approved of the NFL, and 11 percent had an unfavorable view. But by September 28, those numbers changed dramatically with 33 percent saying they now have an unfavorable view of the NFL while only 16 percent said they felt positively toward the league.
The drop of 13 points in a single week coincides with the mass protests seen across the league during Week 3 of the NFL season.
The drop also coincides with criticism of the league offered by President Trump who said on September 22 that he hoped NFL owners would fire players who stage protests during the playing of the national anthem.
The poll also found that only 35% of respondents believe the league has a positive impact in the community. That is a 10% drop since September 13. Clearly, the protests are overshadowing all the charity efforts sponsored by the league, the teams, and individual players.
The Morning Consult poll is far from the only poll to find that trust in the NFL’s brand has taken a hit.
Also this month, a Rasmussen poll found that fans are 34 percent less likely to watch the NFL because of the constant protests against the national anthem.
In addition, at least two other polls from last year also found that fans were upset by the protests. One poll found that 44% of fans said they would stop watching the NFL if protests against the national anthem continued. A second poll by J.D. Power showed fans citing the anthem protests as the main reason they stopped watching NFL games.
In short, if the NFL doesn’t reverse course soon, college football will be the most popular sports in the land within the next three years.
The Morning Consult poll conducts its daily surveys of 1,000 companies and products with questions to 5,000 adults. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.