Most Americans support the right of National Football League players to take a knee during the national anthem, but are split on whether they approve of the protests, according to a poll released by Quinnipiac University Thursday.
The poll, which surveyed 1,038 voters from September 6 to 9, found that 67 percent of Americans believe football players should be allowed to protest racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling, while 30 percent disapprove.
Majority support for the protests held true regardless of race, gender, age, or level of education. The only exception was Republicans, who disapproved 60 to 39 percent.
On whether they approved or disapproved of the protests, most Americans were split, 47 to 47 percent. The divide became more pronounced along political lines, with Republicans disapproving 89 to 7 percent, and Democrats approving 79 to 14 percent.
More Americans supported sports apparel company Nike’s decision to make ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick one of the faces of its “Just Do It” ad campaign, 49 to 37 percent.
Poll conductor Tim Malloy noted that the breakdown showed a divide similar to political polls he has conducted in the past, despite the protests being more of a cultural issue.
“Almost everything is politicized,” Malloy told VOA News. “We’re very polarized, and this has become politicized, too.”
The controversy over the protests began in 2016, when Kaepernick began refusing to stand during the anthem to protest racial injustice. Kaepernick’s display drew outraged reactions from conservatives and President Donald Trump, as more and more players began kneeling in solidarity.
Last week, Nike announced it would feature Kaepernick in its ads, leading some angry conservatives to post videos and photos on social media of themselves destroying their Nike gear.
During one of the opening games of the NFL season last week, two players for the Miami Dolphins knelt during the anthem.