How do NC State students feel about the NFL and Charlottesville protests?

How do NC State students feel about the NFL and Charlottesville protests?

How do N.C. State students feel about hot-button issues like the NFL and Charlottesville protests? That's what Pack Poll tries to find out. 

Above: N.C. State students eat lunch in Talley on campus. Photo from the News & Observer.

Editor’s note: Author Rebekah Lee works for Pack Poll. 

How do N.C. State students feel about hot-button issues?

That’s what Pack Poll tries to find out.

Pack Poll is a team of N.C. State undergraduates (working under professor Michael Cobb) who conduct surveys of their fellow students at N.C. State.

In October, Pack Poll sent out a survey gauging students’ opinion on two topics: on different forms of protests (like NFL players protesting racism or white nationalists protesting the removal of Confederate monuments) and on the removal of Confederate monuments. Here’s what Pack Poll discovered in that poll.

1. N.C. State students favored removing Confederate statues.

Pack Poll asked a panel of students, “Do you favor or oppose removing statues and memorials of Confederate leaders?”  Approximately 59 percent of students favored removing public Confederate statues, 26 percent opposed removing the statues, and 15 percent of students expressed no opinion on the matter.

2. N.C. State students are more likely to answer “no opinion” when asked about Silent Sam.

While NC States students were not generally in favor of keeping Confederate monuments, it seems that they do not know all the monuments that exist. The Silent Sam statue was erected in 1913 to commemorate alumni from UNC -Chapel Hill who died while fighting on behalf of the Confederacy during the Civil War.  The statue has been a source of controversy for decades, and the memorial has been vandalized on multiple occasions. When State students were asked if they would be in favor of removing this statue, 35 percent of students chose the no opinion option (compared to 15 percent who chose no opinion when asked about removing Confederate monuments in general).

3. N.C. State students have an underlying racial bias that affects their opinion on the NFL protest.

Half of the respondents were asked if they approved or disapproved of NFL athletes protesting racism by kneeling during the national anthem. About 25 percent of these students disapproved of this form of protest. Of the 25 percent who disapproved, 87 percent disagreed with this statement: “Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.”

The other half of respondents were asked if they approved or disapproved of a recent protest by white nationalists in Charlottesville against the removal of a Confederate statue. About 45 percent of these respondents disapproved of this form of protest. Of 45 percent who disapproved, 27 percent disagreed with the statement: “Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.”

The majority of respondents who approved of the NFL form of protest disagreed with the statement. According to the racial resentment scale, this would indicate that there is an underlying racial bias that affects opinion on the NFL protest.

4. For every positive word about Trump, there were 25 negative words given.

Students were asked to give the first word that comes to mind when they think of President Donald Trump. The word cloud below shows that the results were not in his favor.

5. N.C. State students’ opinion of protestors depends on the protest and how they were asked.

All respondents were asked whether they agreed with this statement: “For the most part, people who protest and demonstrate against US policy are good, upstanding, intelligent people.”

Some respondents got that question before they were asked about either their feelings on the NFL protests or their feelings on the Charlottesville protests. Other respondents got the question after. That question caused the approval ratings for the Charlottesville protests to go down.

Check out PackPoll.com to see the full articles and survey results.

Rebekah Lee
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