Politics and the Skins Game

One of the things I like about Public Policy Polling is its habit of fairly regularly comparing political affiliations with positions on cultural controversies and tastes. Today’s installment (from a survey taken in mid-December) involves the NFL. And there aren’t that many items that seem to divide political partisans; indeed, it’s interesting that Democrats, Republicans and independents are in extraordinary agreement (57%, 61% and 63%, respectively) that they do not consider the Dallas Cowboys “America’s Team.”

There is one wrinkle, though. An amazing 90% of self-identified Republicans oppose changing the nickname of the Washington, DC franchise (only 4% support the idea). It’s not a completely polarizing issue, since only 31% of Democrats, and 16% of independents, favor the change. But it’s still interesting that all the legendary GOP hostility to the Washington status quo does not trump the impulse to oppose “politically correct” elimination of racially offensive language (the team in question’s well-known fight song ends: “Fight for old DC!” which must sound funny sung lustily by rabid advocates for a radically shrunk federal government).

Speaking of race, the breakdowns on the Washington name change on racial/ethnic grounds are a bit surprising. African-Americans oppose getting rid of the nickname by a 64-22 margin; Hispanics by a narrower 49-37 plurality. I don’t know if this reflects African-American loyalty to “Chocolate City” traditions, or more American football fandom, or just a small sample. And unfortunately, there’s no subsample of Native Americans; that would be very interesting.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.