WASHINGTON -- Most people don't think the Washington Redskins should change the team's name, but if the team ever decides to do the decent thing, Americans favor one alternate name over all others.
HuffPost, in partnership with YouGov, surveyed Americans about changing the Washington football team's moniker. A majority said that if they had to pick a new name, they liked "Washington Warriors" best. But only 21 percent of those polled said that the Redskins should change their name, while 62 percent said they should not.
The survey found some differences in how Americans of different political parties view the name. Only 5 percent of Republicans want it changed, while 20 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats said the same. Even among Democrats, though, 47 percent said the name should not be changed.
Last week the United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team's trademark registration, agreeing with Native American plaintiffs that the team's name and logo are "disparaging to Native Americans." Among other arguments, the plaintiffs cited 10 classic films in which characters used the term "redskin" in a disparaging way.
But relatively few of those polled agree that the term "redskin" is disparaging. Only 28 percent of respondents said they think it is, while 58 percent think it's not.
Forty percent of Democrats polled, but only 27 percent of independents and 15 percent of Republicans, said they think the term is offensive. The survey also found a division by race: Forty-nine percent of black respondents, but only 25 percent of white respondents, view the term as disparaging. (There are too few Native Americans in our sample to draw conclusions about their views as a group.)
If the team did choose to change its name, though, respondents were able to unite around one of seven options presented in the poll: the Washington Warriors. Fifty-five percent of respondents viewed it as the best alternative. It just so happens that team owner Dan Snyder previously filed paperwork to register "Washington Warriors" as a trademark, though it may have been for an aborted arena football venture.
Among the other options, 15 percent said they favored "Washington Renegades," 8 percent chose "Washington Monuments," and 4 percent chose "Washington Red Tails."
The Washington City Paper has promoted Pigskins since it garnered majority support in a reader poll. The name is also a nod to "The Hogs," a nickname for the team's offensive line in the 1980s and '90s. Six percent of Americans agreed with the City Paper in our poll.
The biographers of Red Cloud, a Sioux chief who defeated the United States military in 1868 and was treated as a head of state in Washington two years later, have suggested naming the team after him would truly honor Native Americans. But "Washington Red Clouds" only got 5 percent support.
Some commentators have advocated for "Washington Department of Football," in honor of the team's tradition of being forced by the government to do the right thing, but only 6 percent of Americans said they liked it as a potential name. The team used to play in a stadium on federal land and in 1961 Interior Secretary Stewart Udall told the Redskins, the last segregated NFL team, that they could only play there if they added black players to the roster. So they did.
If survey respondents were able to choose between any of these alternatives or the current name, the current name won out, 46 percent to 25 percent, over the Warriors. But a combined 54 percent chose some option other than the current name.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted June 17-19 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.