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Penn State Scandal: Joe Paterno Still Regarded Favorably By Pennsylvania Voters, Says Quinnipiac Poll

Most registered voters in Pennsylvania still have a favorable opinion of former Penn State Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno, despite his relationship with former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who's accused of sexually abusing several children, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. Though 52 percent of respondents support the University's decision to dismiss Paterno, 48 percent of them still hold a favorable opinion of the FBS' all-time leader in victories, while 36 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

Unsurprisingly, the voters surveyed who also identified themselves as interested in college football fans have different results. 57 percent of the self-identified football fans regard Paterno favorably, compared to just 29 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

The poll also asked voters about the University's decision to fire president Graham Spanier, whether the football program has too much influence, and if the Nittany Lions ought to decline playing in a bowl game this season. Roughly 75 percent of respondents favor Spanier's dismissal, while two-thirds of voters believe the Penn State football program is too influential. However, two-thirds of the voters believe the Nittany Lions should still play in a bowl game. The support for their bowl efforts is greater (75 percent) among college football fans. Penn State takes on the Houston Cougars in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2.

For more on the Nittany Lions, please visit Black Shoe Diaries, SB Nation's Penn State blog.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.