The Washington Commanders might as well be called the Washington Com-meh-ders, given how few D.C. residents are passionate supporters of the football team’s new name.
The Washington Post conducted a poll on the new name based on a random sample of 904 D.C. residents — not including residents in Maryland or Virginia.
It was carried out between Feb. 2 and Feb. 14 over landlines and cellphones. The Post said that the overall margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.
The favorability divide is noticeable upon first glance of the Post’s poll. Among respondents, 41% have a positive feeling toward Commanders, while 49% have a negative feeling toward the new name (11% had no opinion).
But there’s an intense divide in these numbers. While 36% of people “like” Commanders, only 5% “love” the new name, according to the Post. On the other hand, 32% of respondents “dislike” the name, but 17% “hate” it.
Yikes. Maybe most telling is the name people said they’d rather stick with going forward.
Among the three names the team has had in as many years, 43% of respondents said they preferred Washington Football Team, compared to 26% who preferred Commanders and 22% who preferred the previous name (5% said they preferred another name, and another 5% had no opinion).
You read that right: Washington fans would rather have the equivalent of [insert sports name here] than anything that establishes a distinct identity.
The name change issue had been an recurring topic for years. Owner Daniel Snyder had emphatically told USA Today that he would “NEVER — you can use caps” change the name in 2013.
Previous polls on the team name appeared to justify Snyder’s opposition.
A 2016 Washington Post poll found that 9 out of 10 Native Americans weren’t offended by the name. A 2019 poll from marketing research firm Wolvereye asked respondents to describe what emotions the team’s name made them feel, and the most common response was “proud.” Three of the top five responses had a positive emotion toward the name.
But the racial justice protests in 2020 brought renewed scrutiny — and the potential flight of significant sponsors — on the franchise. The team decided to use the interim Washington Football Team name for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, before landing on the Commanders name for the 2022 season in early February.
The Post’s poll was based on a random sample of 904 D.C. residents and was conducted between Feb. 2 and Feb. 14 over landlines and cellphones. The Post said that the overall margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.
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