The results are in: 63 percent of Washington, D.C. residents said that they would approve if TV broadcasters stopped using the name Redskins.
Initiated by the Let’s Change the Name campaign, the survey sought to refute the focus group results that Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, touted in June. That survey, conducted by Frank Luntz, a premier Republican messaging strategist and NFL consultant (did not officially release the results) showed that fans did not find the name offensive.
The survey, which was conducted through the public polling company Survey Monkey, was distributed randomly to a pool of 100 Washingtonians from all ages groups, races and education levels.
The respondents were asked 9 questions. Three of them related specifically to Snyder: “If you were told the name of the Washington football team is insulting to a specific racial or ethnic group, would you encourage the owner to change it?; “If the owner of the team, changed its name, would you be as likely to purchase memorabilia bearing the team name or colors?”; And “If the owner of the team changed its name, would you still watch as many of the games?”
The results: 45 percent answered “Yes” to the first question; 61 percent said they would still buy memorabilia with the team’s new name; 84 percent would still watch as many games as they currently do if the owner changed the team’s name.
In a news release, Reed Hundt, the former FCC Chairman, and member of the campaign cited the word as “hateful speech” and urged the current FCC Chairman to convene an open meeting of voluntary media to discuss how they could avoid using the name. “This result shows that by any name, the team would still remain the affections of loyal fans, among whom I have counted myself for more that a half-century,” Hundt said.
Snyder has said that he would “never” change the team’s name. And an earlier Associated Press poll of 1,004 adults conducted in April showed that 79 percent of respondents favored the team keeping their name. Despite the poll, media outlets, business leaders, and journalists have said that they would boycott using the team’s name.
The survey also asked about new names for the teams. It polled results for the “Washington Senators” and the “Skins” among other names. The results for those inquiries can be found here.
“These results show that public opinion is shifting decisively in favor of wanting media outlets to stop using a name for the Washington football team that is deemed offensive by Native Americans,” Hundt said.