We can can go back and forth on this forever. The evidence is out there, I just can' remember where I read the information. Here is one article that talks about the influence. The original intention was not to change the name.
Really for me is not so much of the name change, but rather the mentality of PACIFISM in some Aikido methodologies. The roots of Aikibudo where about combat and self defense when you have to use it. The combative nature has been removed from some Aikido methodologies, Aikikai. The mentality that Aikido should not have combat elements is totally incorrect, when it's original intention was for combat.
O-Sensei's religious beliefs also contributed in important ways to the art he developed. O-Sensei joined the religious group Omotokyo in 1919, and he borrowed heavily from its philosophy and world-view as spiritual underpinnings for his martial art. To emphasize this, the changed the name of the art from Aikibudo ("the warrior's path of harmony") to Aikido ("the path of harmony") in 1942.
Here is the link to the article.