Americans by a two-to-one margin say NFL players should not be fired or suspended when they kneel during the national anthem, according to the third-quarter CNBC All-American Economic Survey.
The results show President Donald Trump, who called publicly for the firing or suspending of such players, at odds with a strong majority of the public.
"This was a ridiculous and totally unhelpful thing for him to do. Absolutely no upside,'' said Jay Campbell, pollster with Hart Research and the Democratic half of the CNBC polling team.
Micah Roberts of Public Opinion Strategies, who serves as the Republican pollster, noted that half of Trump's own supporters disagree with his stance.
The poll was conducted earlier this week during two of the three days the poll was in the field. It includes responses from about 600 people across the country and has a margin of error of 4 percent. The full poll, which includes responses from 800 individuals, has a margin of error of 3.5 percent and will be released Monday.
The poll found 61 percent saying the players should not be fired, 27 percent saying they should be, and 12 percent unsure. Strong support for the players came from Democrats and Independents. Republicans sided with the president by only a 47 to 39 margin, or substantially below their overall level of support for the president.
Respondents in the Northeast and the South equally backed the players at around the national average of 60 percent. But support among those with incomes greater than $75,000 was twice as high as among those with incomes from $30,000 to $50,000. And net support (the percent supporting the players minus opposition) was 60 percent among non-whites but just 23 percent among whites.