Study shows range of views about Redskins’ name change

WASHINGTON — A majority of adults in the region say they feel the Washington Redskins should not change the team name, according to a new poll. But a majority also believe the name will change, regardless of their personal views.

The WTOP Beltway Poll took the pulse of the area shortly after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Redskins’ trademark registration.

Among the 604 adults reached by phone, 61 percent supported keeping the Redskins name. The poll was taken June 20-26.

Geographic lines pitted those in the suburbs against those living in the District.

Convincing majorities in Virginia (67 percent) and Maryland (60 percent) support the name. In the District, results lean in the opposite direction: 57 percent of those polled believe the name should be changed.

Curiously, the poll found more than half (55 percent) of all those in the survey believe the team will have to change its name eventually.

The survey also found that 44 percent of respondents claimed they either know a Native American or have Native American friends, but any influence that may have had on attitudes toward the name change issue were negligible.

The survey did reveal something of a passion gap.

Among those who believe the name should change, 42 percent say they support the cause more now than they did one year ago.

Conversely, 25 percent of those who want to keep the name say they have become less supportive during the past year.

The most lopsided finding will not likely come as a surprise: 81 percent of those who identify themselves as “strong Redskins fans” oppose a name change. Among casual fans of the team, 56 percent oppose a name change.

The strong fans appear to find motivation in the controversy. Twenty-six percent said they are now more likely to buy Redskins tickets or merchandise.

The survey found little support (21 percent) for a boycott of Redskins sponsors, such as FedEx, to push for a name change.

The survey was conducted by Heart + Mind Strategies. The margin of error in this sample size is plus or minus 4 percent.

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