The number of U.S. citizens who think that kneeling during the performance of the national anthem is appropriate has increased over the past month, a new Fox News poll released Thursday shows. Forty-four percent of the registered voters believe that to kneel during the anthem is appropriate, according to the poll conducted in October, up 3 points from the same poll in September, The Hill reports.
A majority of the voters, 52 percent, still consider it to be inappropriate to kneel during the anthem, though that number is down 3 points from the September survey. The survey shows increasing support for kneeling, with just 32 percent of those polled in a September 2016 survey saying it was appropriate to kneel, while 61 percent said it was not.
President Donald Trump incited controversy last month when he urged NFL team owners to fire players who don’t stand during the performance of the national anthem at games. The Fox News polling figures are sharply divided along party lines, with 88 percent of Republicans disapproving of the anthem protests and 67 percent of Democrats calling them appropriate.
The divide is also prevalent among the racial lines. Six in 10 white respondents said the protests were inappropriate, while 61 percent of nonwhites found them appropriate. Overall, fewer than half of the U.S. citizens, or 46 percent, now have a favorable stance of the NFL, while 41 percent view the league negatively.
The league’s favorability rating has decreased by 18 points since the same survey was taken in October 2013. The poll of 1,005 voters was conducted October 22-24 via landlines and cellphones and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.