Should We Celebrate Columbus Day? Majority of People Say Monday's Holiday Is a 'Good Idea'

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But now it is 2017, and some critics think he's obscene. Hulton Archive/Getty

Whether you have to work, or you're off on Monday for Columbus Day, you're in the majority if you decide to celebrate. Nearly 60 percent of respondents to a recent poll on the controversial holiday said they thought observing Columbus Day was a "good idea." Christopher Columbus himself notched a 56 percent approval rating.

The Italian explorer credited with discovering America apparently still has some fans despite his battered reputation. The pro-Columbus camp includes the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization that teamed up with the Marist Institute to survey 1,200 people and release the results on Tuesday.

Related: Christopher Columbus Statue Vandalized With Red, Blood-Like Paint and #SomethingsComing Warning in Central Park

"He was a man ahead of his time, who brought two worlds together and began the process that led to the founding of this country," Carl Anderson, the group's CEO, said in a news release.

Don't call it a comeback—it's not the first poll that has indicated Columbus remains relatively popular even though he killed and enslaved natives and spread diseases to the New World. In 2015, Rasmussen Reports found that half of Americans said they thought the country was right to honor the explorer. Last year, Huff Post and YouGov discovered that 56 percent of people reported having a favorable view of Columbus.

President Franklin Roosevelt made Columbus Day a federal holiday in the 1930s, but opposition to it has only snowballed with time. In 1992, Berkeley, California, became the first U.S. city to recognize the alternative Indigenous Peoples Day. Now it's everywhere: Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Seattle, Phoenix and Minneapolis are among the cities that have swapped the two celebrations.

"Our city owes our very founding to the indigenous peoples in Denver," Councilman Paul Lopez told the Denver Post last year. "We do this because our history books erase such history... You honor it by making it no longer invisible."

Other Columbus protests have taken a more drastic approach. Back in 1991, the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain in Washington, D.C. was painted with graffiti reading "510 Years Oppression" and "510 Years Resistance."

More recently, the Columbus statue in New York City's Central Park was defaced last month by a vandal who painted the man's hands red and wrote "hate will not be tolerated" on the icon's base. And in August, someone filmed another person using a sledgehammer to attack a 200-year-old statue of the explorer in Baltimore, Maryland.