As the Super Bowl Approaches, Republicans Are Souring on the N.F.L. Again (The New York Times)

As the Super Bowl Approaches, Republicans Are Souring on the N.F.L. Again

http://nyti.ms/2BW7bjU

As the Super Bowl Approaches, Republicans Are Souring on the N.F.L. Again


By KEVIN QUEALY

How Clinton voters said they viewed the N.F.L.

How Trump voters said they viewed the N.F.L.

If some viewers choose to skip the Super Bowl this year, one man you might blame – or credit – is President Trump.

The 2017-18 season was one of division for the N.F.L., as it struggled with protests, lower ratings and declining support among its core fans. But how Republicans say they feel about the league depends a lot on how long it has been since Mr. Trump last put the issue of player protests in the national spotlight.

Until this week, Republicans’ favorability ratings toward the N.F.L. had regained nearly half of the ground lost after Mr. Trump’s remarks four months ago, when he said N.F.L. owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem and encouraged spectators to walk out of stadiums in protest. But by mentioning the national anthem in his first State of the Union address this week, Mr. Trump appears to have cost the league some support, according to daily online surveys conducted by Morning Consult, a polling and media company.

What’s causing Republicans to change their minds so quickly? It is not necessarily a tangible political victory in the debate on protesting the anthem. After the tumultuous month following the president’s remarks, N.F.L. owners decided in October to let their players continue to make their protests over racial injustice.

Instead, it may be something more innocuous, consistent with academic research about political persuasion: Republicans may have simply lost interest in the protests, slowly dissociating their partisanship from the sport — until the president brought it back into the national conversation.

How Trump voters said they viewed the N.F.L., including Trump’s tweets

It’s behavior all of us – regardless of our political views – exhibit when we’re asked our opinions about news and current events. To a degree, we’re all susceptible to persuasive messaging, whether it’s a political advertisement or a presidential tweet. More often than not, the effect wears off quickly.

In “How Quickly We Forget,” published in Political Communication in 2013, Seth J. Hill, James Lo, Lynn Vavreck (a contributor to the Upshot) and John Zaller wrote that scholars don’t often study how long persuasive messages last. But when they do, “they typically find rapid decay.”

One study found that events like presidential speeches or scandals can have lasting effects on voters, but most of the time, those effects disappear in less than 10 days. A pair of studies about the Iraq war showed that stories about casualties reduced popular support for the war — for a few weeks, but then support bounced back.

Until recently, news coverage of N.F.L. protests and Mr. Trump’s comments about them had decreased. The share of Republicans saying they heard or read negative media coverage of the N.F.L. declined sharply, too.

Share of Clinton voters saying they had seen, heard or read mostly bad news about the N.F.L. recently

Share of Trump voters saying they had seen, heard or read mostly bad news about the N.F.L. recently

Rest assured, there will be no shortage of media coverage on Sunday, starting around 6:30 p.m.

Brand favorability data comes from Morning Consult’s daily online surveys of about 5,000 adults in the United States. Kyle Dropp, the chief research officer at Morning Consult, is an occasional contributor to The Upshot.

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via The New York Times

February 5, 2018 at 08:05AM

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