October 19, 2016
Bill Shapard

Oklahoma's likely voters not offended by 'Redskins' mascot

According to the most recent SoonerPoll Quarterly, 88.8 percent of likely voting Oklahomans are not offended by the use of the term 'redskin' as a sports team mascot. Only 7.9 percent of respondents found the term offensive.

The question and the exact wording of the question were taken from a Washington Post poll of Native Americans, which found a similar result where nine out of ten Native Americans were not offended by its use. Oklahoma has the second highest population of Native Americans in the United States.

[box] The professional football team in Washington, DC calls itself the Washington Redskins. Do you find that name offensive, or does it not bother you?

1. Offensive7.92. Does not bother you88.83. Don't know/refused [DNR]3.4


Further analysis by political party found 95.5 percent of Republicans were not bother by the use of the term, 90.9 percent of Independents, and 81 percent of Democrats. Even 69.3 percent of self-identified liberal voters were not bothered by the use of the term 'Redskins.'

Given the overwhelming result of 88.8 percent in the poll, every demographical subset analyzed found a clear majority of those not bothered by use of the term, including Native Americans at 83.1 percent. The poll included only 52 respondents who identified as Native American and, while this sample size is not necessarily small for research purposes, caution should be used when extrapolating smaller sample counts to the overall population.

The use of 'Redskins' as a mascot name in Oklahoma has led one school to change the name and another to decide not to do it.

In December 2014, the Oklahoma City school board voted unanimously to ban the Capitol Hill High school’s mascot after a small but vocal group within the American Indian community said they found the term 'Redskins' offensive and harmful. No public opinion poll or any other type of research was commissioned before the decision was made.

Last year, McLoud High School, which is also known as the Redskins, decided after a heated public debate to keep the mascot name.

Four other Oklahoma schools use the 'Redskins' as a mascot: Kingston, Rush Springs, Dustin, and Tulsa Union, which is one of the largest public high schools in the state. Another 17 Oklahoma schools use the term 'Indians' as their mascot. In 2013, it was estimated that over 500 schools nationwide use the term 'Redskins,' 'Braves,' or 'Indians' as a school mascot.

About the Poll, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from September 13-15, 2016 with 515 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of both landline telephone and cell phones, plus a online panel from Research Now. The sample was weighted by age, political party, and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election. The weighting was conducted using a 'layered technique.'

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.32 percent.

This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be viewed here. A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.

Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

Bill is the founder of and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.