According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, the dwindling audience for NFL football hasn’t reversed its field and started to return to the sport. 52% of respondents said they follow the NFL closely, which is slightly up from 49% in January, but well below 2014, when 58% of respondents were loyal fans.
Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who joined Democratic pollster Fred Yang to conduct the survey, said the poll is “still reflecting a lower audience base than we measured in 2014. It’s not going in the right direction.”
The percentage of Republicans who said they don’t follow NFL football closely has mushroomed from 16% in 2014 to 39% now; among white Democrats the percentage has risen from 41% to 50%. 10% of Republicans aver that the player protests are appropriate; that was echoed by 38% of whites in general. 46% of people who follow the league closely said the protests were appropriate.
The Journal reported, “The largest group of fans that follows the game closely—men ages 50 and over, at 61%—also overwhelmingly sees the protests as not appropriate, at 67%.
But 72% of Democrats strongly viewed the protests as appropriate, along with 56% of those between the ages of 18-34.