Poll: PA Voters View JoePa Favorably, But Support Firing

By Ali Carey, Contributing Writer

Watching Penn State football games without seeing former head coach Joe Paterno is something that many Pennsylvanians are still getting used to.

However, according to a survey from Public Policy Polling (PPP), most Pa. voters believe firing Paterno was the right decision in the wake of the University’s shocking sex abuse scandal – even though on the whole they still have a favorable opinion of him.

JoePa’s approval ratings among Pennsylvanians exceed any politician. 51 percent of voters view Paterno favorably compared to 28 percent who have an unfavorable opinion.  Every demographic group PPP tracked also shows a positive perception of Paterno.

Even though Pennsylvania residents apparently still like Paterno, they also see that he needed to be removed as head coach. 45 percent of voters agree with the decision to fire Paterno, 38 percent disagree and 17 percent didn’t have an opinion.  In fact, almost every group is supportive of Paterno’s firing with the exception of voters identifying as ‘very conservative,’ who oppose his being removed by a 33 to 46 percent margin, and Republicans who split evenly at 41 percent.

The voters clearly disapprove of what happened in the PSU athletic department, but they haven’t lost faith in the entire University community.  In terms of how the scandal will effect Penn State’s overall image, voters still see the school in an “overwhelmingly positive light,” 61 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of the school compared to only 25 percent with a negative opinion.

PA residents were not so kind to alleged child molester, former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.  Sandusky broke former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s record as the least popular person the PPP has ever polled on.

A whopping 88 percent have a negative opinion of Sandusky and only 3 percent have a positive opinion of him, showing just how widespread the news has sunk into the public conscious.

November 28th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Top Stories | No Comments

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