About half of Pennsylvanians surveyed for a poll released on Friday support the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, although many say they still have a favorable opinion of him after the child sex-abuse scandal that erupted last month.
The poll conducted by Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University found 52 percent of registered Pennsylvania voters surveyed supported the decision of the Penn State Board of Trustees to oust the longtime coach, with 43 percent opposing the move.
But 44 percent of those polled still have a favorable opinion of Paterno despite outrage expressed by law enforcement officials who claim he didn’t take strong enough action after a graduate assistant came to him claiming he saw former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in a shower at the school’s football facilities.
Seventeen percent said they hadn’t heard enough about Paterno have an opinion.
Paterno and school President Graham Spanier lost their jobs after a grand jury report detailed a series of incidents of sex abuse involving Sandusky and at-risk boys he met through his charity, The Second Mile.
Spanier didn’t fare so well in the poll. An overwhelming majority favored his dismissal ‚Äî 74 percent to 13 percent.
“Pennsylvania voters have more love for the legendary football coach than for Graham Spanier, but they agree that Joe must go,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute assistant director Tim Malloy.
Sandusky is accused of abusing 10 boys, some on campus, over 15 years, allegations that were not immediately brought to the attention of authorities even though high-level people at Penn State apparently knew about at least some of them.
The poll of 1,453 registered voters for the week ending Dec. 5 has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. — (AP)