Public Policy Polling has conducted a lot of surveys on key North Carolina issues over the last eight years but we've never found as little consensus as we did on this one: there is simply no clear favorite for which school will have the best college football team in the state this year.
24% of respondents picked UNC but nipping right at its heels is the dark horse that has emerged from obscurity over the last decade to an amazing record of success: the mighty Mountaineers of Appalachian State are second with 23%.
In a statistical three way tie for third a little further back are NC State at 16%, East Carolina at 15%, and Wake Forest at 13%. Suffice it to say this poll was conducted before last night's debacle at Carter Finley. If we did the poll again this weekend State would perhaps be competing for the basement with Duke, which had 9%. But let's be honest, that's still a testament to the work David Cutcliffe has done turning the program around- would the Devils have pulled anywhere close to 9% two or three years ago?
The bunched up nature of these numbers is not surprising- Carolina, State, Wake, and ECU have all had their up years and their down years over the last decade, never achieving a consistent level of success and certainly not hitting elite status. App has, but at a lower level of competition.
Of course we have to tie this into politics somehow. Not surprisingly Carolina's lead expands to 36-25 among liberal voters- you know all those arrogant lefties in Chapel Hill had to pick the Tar Heels. But among independents Appalachian is first at 28%, followed by ECU at 19%, an indication those voters are looking beyond the football equivalent of the two party system, the ACC.
When it comes to who voters think will have the worst team in the state it's a landslide, the chances of anyone displacing Duke on that front about as good as the chances of a Republican getting elected to the legislature from Durham County. The Devils gets 40%, with Appalachian and ECU tied well behind at 17%.
Of course this is fun but public opinion never won a football game- now that we have last night's middle school scrimmage out of the way, let the games begin!
Full results here