61%: Firing Paterno right
Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was fired by the school’s Board of Trustees Wednesday night in the midst of child sex abuse allegations rocking the university. The decision to fire Paterno came just hours after he announced he would retire at the end of the season. We wanted to know if you thought Paterno should have been allowed to retire or if the school was right to fire him. In a Poll Position national scientific telephone survey, 61% agreed with the decision to fire Paterno, 29% thought he should have been allowed to retire at the end of the season, 10% did not have an opinion.
Paterno is under fire for the way he handled, or did not handle, child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky, a longtime former Paterno assistant coach, has been charged with 40 counts of abuse against young boys over a two decade period. In 2002 an eyewitness told Paterno he saw Sandusky acting inappropriately with a young boy in a locker room shower. Paterno alerted a higher up at Penn State but did not notify police.
By a small margin, more men than women thought it was right to fire Paterno. Among men, 62% agreed with the decision to fire Paterno, 28% thought he should have been allowed to retire at the end of the year and 10% did not have an opinion. Women agreed with the decision to fire Paterno by 60% to 30% who said he should have been allowed to retire at the end of the season. Ten percent of women did not have an opinion.
There was a difference of opinion between whites and African-Americans over Paterno. Among whites, 65% thought he should have been fired, 30% said he should have been allowed to retire and 6% did not have an opinion. By a smaller number African-Americans said Paterno should have been fired with 52% agreeing with the decision, 34% said Paterno should have been allowed to retire and 14% did not have an opinion.
Poll Position’s scientific telephone survey of 1,1184 registered voters nationwide was conducted November 10, 2011 and has a margin of error of ±3%. Poll results are weighted to be a representative sampling of all American adults.
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