A new poll released today by Public Policy Polling (PPP) revealed that there's been a shift in the fan base in Virginia. When PPP first polled the Commonwealth four years ago, 32% of Virginians were Hokies fans, while only 21% called themselves Wahoo fans.
Today, following the tremendous rise of Virginia basketball coupled with the new and continued success of the rest of Virginia Athletics and the decline of Virginia Tech football, the tide appears to have turned. In their latest poll, 34% of the Commonwealth now consider themselves to be Virginia fans, while 28% consider themselves Virginia Tech fans. The remaining 38% were not a fan of either school
The poll digs down even more than that, asking fans of each school whether they approved, disapproved, or were not sure of their respective school's head football and basketball coaches.
Among Virginia fans, 37% approved of the job Mike London is doing as football coach. Another 13% responded that they disapproved, while the remaining 50% indicated that they weren't sure.
Latest Gallup Polls show, by the way, that President Obama has an approval rating of 46% (calculated on a weekly average), and has never dipped below 40% on a weekly average. Obama's lowest three-day average was 38%.
Unsurprisingly, though, 54% of Virginia fans approve of the job Tony Bennett is doing as basketball coach, while just 4% disapproved. The remaining 42% were unsure and have largely been living underneath a rock, we assume.
Among Virginia Tech fans, Football Head Coach Frank Beamer has a whopping 62% approval rating (8% disapprove, 30% unsure) and Basketball Head Coach Buzz Williams carries a 39% approval rating (just 3% disapproving and 58% not sure). Williams's fairly low approval rating, presumably, can be explained by his newcomer status, as reflected in the 58% of respondents being unsure.
Also interesting is that, while Bennett's approval rating is fairly high across the board, regardless of whether the respondent identified himself or herself as being very liberal, somewhat liberal, moderate, somewhat conservative or very conservative, London's approval ratings were not quite so. With a 37% base approval rating, 45% of those very liberal approved and 43% of those somewhat liberal approved. In the middle, only 30% of the moderates approved, while 42% of those somewhat conservative approved and a staggering drop off of 26% of those who consider themselves to be very conservative approved of London's job as head coach.
Methodology: PPP surveyed 1,170 Virginian voters from July 13-15. The margin of error for the survey is +/-2.9%. 80% of interviews for the poll were conducted over the phone with 20% interviewed over the internet to reach respondents who don't have landline telephones.
For the full results, click here. Lots of additional numbers to look at and overanalyze. For instance, only 43% of women approved of Tony Bennett, which seems surprisingly low for the George Clooney of college basketball. A whopping 65% of men approved of Bennett.