The basic math of this story is easy to follow: ESPN conducts a poll on anthem protests, ESPN doesn’t like results of the poll on anthem protests, therefore ESPN deliberately misrepresents the results from the poll on anthem protests.
With its new Global Strategy Group poll, ESPN states that Americans “are divided in their attitudes” about the NFL’s protests during the playing of the national anthem. However, far from “divided,” many of the results find Americans far more united in their negative feelings about the protests.
The poll found that a lopsided majority disapprove of the anthem protests, with 51 percent either somewhat or strongly disapproving of the anthem protests, while only 39 percent approved. If this were a political poll, a 51-39 disparity would be called a definitive, and direct statement. Even a predictor of certain electoral victory.
Moreover, had the poll found that 51 percent of people approved of the anthem protests, this poll would have been celebrated and paraded on every show across every platform ESPN has.
Yet, because this result doesn’t fit ESPN’s narrative, the results get described as “mixed” or “divided.”
Another strong result was seen when the poll asked respondents whether the protests made them more or less interested in watching football. A whopping 40 percent said that the protests make them less likely to watch the NFL, while only 14 percent said the protests made them more likely to watch football.
That’s a 26-point disparity between those answers. That is not “mixed.” If a 26-point disparity can’t be called definitive, then there’s no such thing as definitive.
Among those who described themselves as avid football fans, 48 percent said their interest was not impacted by the protests. 31 percent said the protests made them less interested.
Some results did show a more divided America, especially along racial lines.
While overall, respondents felt negative about the NFL, African Americans were far more positive.
A whopping 72 percent of African-Americans said that they approve or strongly approve of the protests, while 62 percent of white respondents either strongly or somewhat disapprove of the protests.
The poll also found that Americans are sick of the media talking about anthem protests. A significant majority of 55 percent said that the media talks about the protests too much, while only 29 percent thought the amount of coverage was appropriate.
The nationwide online survey of 1,055 adults 18 and older was conducted by Global Strategy Group for ESPN between Sept. 26-28, after Week 3 and after President Trump’s Sept. 22 criticism of the league. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percent.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.