Poll: Half of Californians support NFL anthem protests

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Californians are divided over the NFL national anthem protests, with about half supporting the players who took a knee and 37 percent opposing, according to a new statewide poll.

The poll by Survey USA conducted exclusively for Eyewitness News found that the level of support for anthem protests increased last week following President Donald Trump's critical comments on players who protest.

Poll respondents were more unified in their response to Trump, with an overwhelming majority saying he "made the situation worse" and it was inappropriate for him to call any protesting player a "son of a bitch."

Trump said NFL team owners should fire players who take a knee when the national anthem is played. As a response, there were increased protests during Sunday's games, with an estimated 200 players taking a knee or sitting on the bench when the anthem was played.

MORE: NFL should fire players who kneel during national anthem, Trump says

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President Donald Trump says National Football League owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem.

Many other players, as well as team owners, stood and locked arms during the anthem in a show of unity. Some teams, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, chose to stay in the tunnel during the anthem.

Before Sunday's games, the poll found that 47 percent of Californians supported the protests, with 38 percent opposing. After Sunday, the figure changed to 52 percent support and 37 percent opposed.

Among other findings:

-- Poll respondents were more unified when asked to comment specifically on Trump's comments, with 70 percent saying he made the situation worse and only 9 percent saying he made it better.

--When asked if it was appropriate for Trump to call a player who kneels a "son of a bitch" 82 percent said it was inappropriate and 13 percent said it was appropriate.

--There remains wide disparity about how fans and teams should react to players who protest the anthem, with 9 percent agreeing with Trump that they should be fired and 18 percent saying they should be disciplined. About 30 percent of respondents said the protests should be tolerated, 16 percent said celebrated and 17 percent said ignored.

--Twenty-eight percent of respondents said seeing other people near them not stand for the national anthem upsets them "a lot"; 28 percent said it upsets them "a little;" and 40 percent said "not at all."

-- They were also divided over whether in general it is acceptable to not stand during the anthem as a form of protest, with 46 percent saying it is wrong and 40 percent saying it is an acceptable protest.

The survey's full results and methodology can be found here.
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