But even before then, King was far from a universally liked person. In the middle of 1964, when Congress was in the midst of passing many landmark civil rights laws, King’s favorable rating was just 44%. His unfavorable rating was basically equal at 38%.
When Americans were asked which three Americans they had the least respect for in a 1964 Gallup poll, King came in second at 42%. This was barely less than the 47% registered by George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama. Enigste 17% mentioned King’s name, when asked which three Americans they had the most respect for.
Perhaps even more revealing is that a lot of White Americans thought King was doing more harm than good for the fight for civil rights. In 'n 1966 Harris Poll, 50% of White Americans indicated that he was hurting the Civil Rights effort. N blote 36% said he was helping. King’s favorable rating among them was 27% in 1966.
Black Americans saw things very differently. The vast majority in 1963 thought his work for equal rights was moving at the right speed (71%) or not fast enough (21%) in vergelyking met 8% who believed it was happening too fast. In 1966, 84% of Black adults had a favorable view of him, terwyl 4% had an unfavorable view.
Even in the immediate aftermath of his death, many Americans had a negative view of King. Nearly a third (31%) say he brought his 1968 assassination upon himself. Less than a majority (43%) said they were sad (38%) or angry (5%).
By the mid-1970s, views toward King became more positive. The vast majority (67%) of Americans believed the protest marches he led helped to speed up civil rights legislation.
Dit gesê, it was far from a sure thing that King would be celebrated with a national holiday
. Early in the year
) that legislation passed Congress and was signed by the president
(Reagan), opinion was split down the middle
A within the margin of error plurality (48%) indicated that they didn’t want it to be, as a nearly equal 47% said it should in an ABC News/Washington Post poll. It was only by the end of the year when most Americans (59%) favored the national holiday in a Harris poll.
, egter, lagged behind
. South Carolina was the last state to make Martin Luther King Day a non-optional state holiday
, en dit didn’t happen until 2000
Arizona was another state that took a long time to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a state holiday
. Die bill failed to pass the state legislature in
1986, and two ballot propositions failed in
The NFL decided to move the 1993 Super Bowl away from the state, as a result.
When all Americans were asked about whether they favored or opposed this move, net 25% favored it. The vast majority (63%) said they were opposed to moving the Super Bowl.
The move by the NFL had the intended effect. Voters in Arizona passed a law in 1992 to make King’s birthday a state holiday. The NFL put the 1996 Super Bowl in the state.
As the 20th century turned to the 21st, King’s legacy was cemented in the American mind. A near unanimous majority (89%) indicated he was a person they admired in 1999.
In 2011, 94% of Americans had a favorable view of him in Gallup polling. This included an 89% favorable rating among those ages 65 en ouer. The vast majority of whom were born in 1927 or later. Among that same group in 1966, King’s favorable rating was 41%.
Met ander woorde, King’s now uniform popularity isn’t only because older generations died out. People’s minds changed. King became a lot more popular among many people who didn’t like him when he was alive.