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Finally, A Poll On The Important Issues

PPP polls Michigan residents about their feelings toward University of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez. The Michigan fanbase is about equally split three ways between those who want to keep Rodriguez, fire him, or don't have an opinion.

But the cross-tabs of the poll show some interesting results. As those of us who grew up in the state would not be surprised to learn, Michigan fans are more liberal than Michigan State fans (The liberal/moderate/conservative split for Michigan fans is 37/40/24, for MSU fans it's 22/38/35.) Within the Michigan fan-base, opinion on Rodriguez is also split along ideological lines, with liberals supporting him keeping his job by a 29-point margin, and conservatives wanting to see him fired by a 17-point margin.

Opinion about Rodriguez also has a sharp racial divide. Rodriguez's favorability is positive among African-Americans (40-20) and negative among whites (15-42.) That matches up with what I've seen, which is that some of the criticisms of Rodriguez come from whites and have a racial tinge (Rodriguez plays a lot of black quarterbacks, while quarterbacks under the previous coaching regime were almost entirely white.)

Who would Michigan fans like to see replacing Rodriguez if he's fired? It's a rout:

Jim Harbaugh 64%

Les Miles 23%

Brady Hoke 3%

This tracks with my sense of the Michigan fanbase, which is that the hiring of lifetime sub-.500 San Diego State coach Brady Hoke would result in several Athletic Department buildings being burned to the ground by enraged fans.

Interestingly, fan opinion as to who to hire if Rodriguez leaves is split along generational lines. The under-30 crowd adores Les Miles, favoring him over Harbaugh 60-32. (Is it the smart, unconventional fourth-down play calling? Their slacker tolerance for atrocious time management? The grass-eating? ) Every other age group favors Harbaugh, perhaps in part because they're old enough to remember his playing days at Michigan. (For the record, I'm happy with Rodriguez but also like Harbaugh.)