Every year around this time we're saturated with news stories, essays, even books about how much hatred there is in the UNC-Duke rivalry. But do most Tar Heel and Blue Devil fans really hate each other's schools? Our scientific polling indicates no.
35% of North Carolinians will be rooting for UNC Wednesday night compared to 21% pulling for Duke and 44% who don't care one way or the other. Among those respondents who do have a team they prefer in the game just 18%- 20% of Duke fans and 17% of UNC fans- say that they 'hate' their rival.
We broke that down further by whether folks are 'hardcore,' 'moderate,' or just 'casual' fans of that school. Not surprisingly the most passionate fans are the most likely to express hatred of their rival -32% of them do- 42% of Duke fans and 29% of UNC fans. But it's still nowhere near a majority.
So even if UNC and Duke fans don't generally hate each other's schools they must at least hate each other's coaches, right? Not so much. UNC backers view Mike Krzyzewski favorably by a 46/26 margin, while Duke fans see Roy Williams in a positive light by a much more narrow 27/24 spread. Those positive numbers hold true with even with the strongest backers of each team- Krzyzewski is at 45/35 with hardcore UNC fans and Williams is at 46/32 with the same for Duke.
UNC and Duke fans have more respect for each other's schools than we ever would have thought.
Here are some other notes from the poll:
-Despite the UNC basketball team's woes this season Roy Williams isn't seeing much of a dip in his popularity. He's viewed favorably by a 72/3 margin among all UNC fans and by an 82/2 spread with hardcore ones. This poll was taken right after the team's back to back losses to Clemson and Georgia Tech in mid-January.
-UNC fans are much more into it than Duke ones. 39% of Tar Heel backers describe themselves as hardcore to 28% casual. For Duke it's 19% hardcore and 43% casual.
-North Carolinians are more likely to have an opinion one way or the other about Krzyzewski than Williams- 57% for the Duke coach to 49% for UNC's.
-Confirming the conventional wisdom, the further you move left across the ideological spectrum the more likely you are to be cheering for Carolina Wednesday night. Conservatives go for UNC by a 32-23 margin, followed by moderates at 36-20, and liberals at 41-17.
Full results here