Poll: Paterno Retains Popularity in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2013 02:03 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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He’s been demonized for turning his back on the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal and his statue has been removed from campus, but a year after his death, legendary Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno remains a beloved figure in the Keystone State.

A new poll by Quinnipiac University reveals Pennsylvania voters have a favorable opinion of Paterno, who died in January 2012, with a 47–28 percent favorability among men and a 40–30 percent favorability among women.

And Paterno’s favorability is 54–27 percent among voters in Penn State households.

Voters aren’t impressed with the NCAA sanctions imposed on the university for its controversial handling of the Sandusky case, the poll found.

Some 53 percent of Pennsylvania voters say the sanctions are too severe. Only 13 percent say they are not severe enough and another 28 percent say they are appropriate.

The NCAA fined the university $60 million, instituted a four-year ban on it appearing in bowl games, and vacated all victories for a 14-year period up to 2011.

In addition, voters disapprove of the way Republican Gov. Tom Corbett handled the scandal over the last few years, but they support his lawsuit targeting the NCAA for what they believe are too-harsh sanctions.

And by 42–36 percent, voters disapprove of the job Corbett is doing. The governor does not deserve to be re-elected, Pennsylvania voters say by a 51–31 percent margin.

“It’s halftime in Gov. Tom Corbett’s first term and if he were running a football team instead of a state, he’d fire his offensive coordinator,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

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