Professional football is no longer viewed as America’s favorite sport as the NFL wanes in popularity due to the NFL players’ national anthem protests, according to a new poll.
The Winston Group, a right-leaning polling firm, found that the number of favorable ratings for the NFL dropped significantly among the NFL’s core fan base, the Washington Examiner reported.
Only 42 percent of men from ages 34-54 had a favorable opinion of the NFL during September, a 31-point decrease from the 73 percent who responded to the August poll.
The survey also noted that football has the highest unfavorable rating out of all major sports mentioned in the survey.
“More critically for the NFL, the fall off in favorables occurred among important audiences,” the Winston Group analysis reads.
“Among males, NFL favorables fell 23 percent, going from 68 percent to 45 percent. In looking at a more specific audience, males 34-54, NFL favorables fell 31 percent, going from 73 percent to 42 percent. Among this group, the NFL has a surprising negative image, as it went from +54 percent in August to -5 percent in September.”
The most popular sport in America turns out to be Major League Baseball, according to the poll.
Only 13 percent of Americans do not view the MLB favorably, while six out of 10 Americans view the sport favorably. Baseball has also been growing in popularity as teams head into the postseason playoffs. The MLB’s popularity rating went up two points between late August and late September.
The Winston Group polled 1,000 registered voters on August 29-30 and September 28-29. The poll did not state the margin of error.
Other polls have also shown that interest in the NFL is waning. A Rasmussen poll conducted toward the end of September showed that 34 percent of people were less likely to watch the NFL because of the national anthem protests.