The REAL Political Take on the NFL Protest

While everyone argues the "rights and wrongs" of the players protest at NFL games, I want to take a different look. In the world of politics, as it mirrors the world of retail business, we look at the "net vote consequences", meaning what is the number of votes GAINED as opposed to the number of votes LOST by a political decision. This is likely measured by polls, but finally measured in election, obviously. But the shorter term snapshot of a poll, and the trend between polls, is more telling because it is more specific to a policy or a strategy than it is in an election, because it is more isolated and thus more scientific.

With the ratings (the television semi-equivalent of a political poll) out on Sunday Night Football for Week 3 of the 2017/2018 season, we find a net decrease. "Viewershipwise, last night’s game is currently taking a 21% hit from the fast affiliates of the September 17 game, which was down 14% from the Season opener of September 10." (quoted from yesterday's Deadline Hollywood article).

Equating ratings to polls, this is the NFL/TV equivalent of a political free fall.


For the non-political, this means 21% LESS people watched, translated to 21% less people VOTED. This 21% loss is net, meaning they lost more viewers than they gained. With the pervasiveness of this issue commanding "headlines" in the press in general, this means 21% of the available people chose NOT to watch, INCLUDING those NEW viewers they picked up due to the media blitz occurring everywhere else.

While this doesn't tell us how many routine viewers were lost and how many new viewers were gained, it does suggest that the message is counterproductive to viewership (translated to votes in the political realm). (As an aside, my firm, Asymmetrical Political Solutions, LLC, could tell you what voters were lost and what voters were gained almost to an individual voter analysis, using its sophisticated data analysis capabilities.)

What this tends to tell us is that the protest is failing. More people are unhappy with this message than are happy with it. Mildly unscientific, but certainly rationally persuasive.

Were this a campaign and were I advising the League, I'd be close to panicking, demanding an immediate stop to the protest and suggesting a "Patriot Tour" by players to offset the damage. And I'd be polling the daylights out of each step of that "tour" to see if I was mitigating the damage.

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  • Chip Jones