Most view kneeling during anthem as acceptable form of protest – CBS News poll

Michigan

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker (12) kneels for social justice with players before a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

CBS — Most Americans view professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial discrimination as an acceptable form of protest, but there are divisions along political, racial and generational lines.

These views come amid a shift we’ve seen in recent CBS News polling, with more Americans now saying that racial discrimination affects both individuals’ treatment by police and their chances of getting ahead in society.

Majorities of Black and Hispanic Americans think it’s acceptable for athletes to kneel during the national anthem as a form of protest against racial discrimination. White people are divided, with just over half (52%) saying it is unacceptable.

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But political partisanship may be playing a larger role in opinion than race. Eight in 10 White Democrats find kneeling during the anthem an acceptable form of protest. A similar percentage of White Republicans find it unacceptable.

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Overall, we see many of the partisan splits we’ve seen on other matters concerning protests and race. Most Republicans say professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest is unacceptable. Most Democrats and a smaller majority of independents view it as acceptable. 

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There are generational differences too. Younger people – those ages 18 to 29 – are the age group most likely to view kneeling during the national anthem as acceptable. This form of protest becomes less acceptable with age, with more than half of those ages 65 and over finding it unacceptable.

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There is a relationship between views of the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement and opinions of protest during the anthem. Most of those who agree with the ideas of Black Lives Matter see kneeling during the national anthem as an acceptable form of protest, while those who disagree find it unacceptable.

This CBS News survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 2,008 U.S. adult residents. The margin of error for U.S. adults is 2.5 pts.  

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