Friday, January 7, 2011

Pennsylvania Football Poll

My level of interest in politics at 3:30 on Friday afternoon is somewhat less than my level of interest in football, so here is the football polling from our Pennsylvania poll:

-42% of voters in the state say the Steelers are their favorite team to 31% who pick the Eagles. 26% say neither. There's a significant ideological divide in the state's football preferences: liberals prefer the Eagles 40-28 while conservatives go for the Steelers by a 51-22 margin. Moderates learn slightly toward the Steelers.

-Even though the Steelers are more popular than the Eagles Michael Vick is actually more popular than Ben Roethlisberger, although 'popular' isn't a particularly good word for describing either of their favorability numbers. Both are mostly seen in a negative light by voters in the state. For Vick it's a -12 spread with 29% of voters viewing him positively and 41% having an unfavorable opinion. For Roethlisberger it's a -17 spread with 21% of voters seeing him favorably and 38% having a negative opinion.

There are a couple reasons Vick does better than Roethlisberger. The first is that he's much more popular within his own fan base. Eagles fans see Vick favorably by a nearly 2:1 margin, 48/25. Steelers fans meanwhile are almost evenly divided on Roethlisberger with 36% viewing him positively and 34% negatively. I read that as fans saying what you do to humans is worse than what you do to dogs, although I'm sure there are other reasonable interpretations.

The other difference is racial. The two have almost identically bad numbers with white voters- Roethlisberger's spread is -19 and Vick's is -21. But Vick is very popular with African Americans (67/10 favorability) while Roethlisberger is not (17/26). That explains most of the difference between their numbers.

-Pennsylvanians and Penn State fans in particular want Joe Paterno back on the sidelines next year. 44% of voters in the state overall think Paterno should come back for another season while 36% are opposed. Among folks specifically describing themselves as fans of the Nittany Lions those numbers go up to 55% who want him to return and only 33% who think he should step aside. Two thirds of voters say they're fans of Penn State- an impressively high number. A plurality of the folks who are not PSU fans say Paterno should step aside. Not sure what to make of that- is it just folks who are concerned about his welfare, or is it Pitt fans who think the program will slip once he moves on and let the Panthers become the dominant team in the state? Your guess is as good as mine.

Full results here

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