Tuesday, August 9, 2011

butch davis firing by the numbers

A fairly prominent, North Carolina-based political polling company I follow and respect did a survey of Carolina fans this week to gauge the level of support for Butch Davis and Holden Thorp after the ugly recent episode at UNC. Judge for yourselves what you think of the poll's accuracy and methodology but it has left me to conclude one thing. I and most other fans I know are among the "hardcore" set and we are the definite outliers when it comes to UNC football.

In the two weeks since Butch Davis' firing as UNC football coach there's been endless debate about what Tar Heel nation really thinks about the decision and the direction of the program. Here are the results of our scientific poll conducted over the weekend of self described UNC fans:

-UNC fans think that Butch Davis did a good job as coach, but they still support his firing. There's no doubt that Davis got the team headed in the right direction on the field after the dark days of the Carl Torbush and John Bunting years and Tar Heel partisans appreciate him for it. 41% approve of the job he did as coach to only 21% disapproving, with 39% not taking a side. Those describing themselves as 'hardcore' UNC fans are particularly supportive of the job Davis did with 65% approving and only 19% disapproving.

Despite the on field success though 36% of fans support Davis' firing with 27% opposed and 37% having no opinion. UNC alumni are particularly supportive of the decision, agreeing with it by a 50/32 margin. There is a significant divide though based on respondents' level of fandom. Those describing themselves as 'hardcore' fans disagree with Davis' firing by a 44/40 margin. They only account for 22% of the fan base though and those describing themselves as moderately big UNC fans (42/27) and casual ones (26/18) both support the firing.

-UNC fans think that Holden Thorp is doing a good job as Chancellor and should stay in the job...but they also think he's done a poor job handling the football team. The voices calling for Thorp's ouster are more loud than they are numerous. 31% of UNC fans think Thorp is doing a good overall to 19% who dissent with 50% offering no opinion. And 32% think he should continue as Chancellor to 23% who think he should resign or be fired with 45% unsure. Alumni are particularly supportive of Thorp. They give him good marks for the job he's doing by a 53/24 margin and believe he should stay on by a 55/20 spread. Even though they disagree with the decision to fire
Davis, even 'hardcore' fans give Thorp a 40/29 overall approval and think he should keep his position 40/34.

Despite the overall support make no mistake though- UNC backers think Thorp has handled the football situation very poorly. Only 20% give positive marks on that front to 35% who think he's done a bad job. Alumni (31/37) and non-Alumni (17/35) alike are unhappy with his football related leadership and 'hardcore' fans (24/56) are particularly displeased. The Athletic Director hire is going to be huge for Thorp given these numbers- he has to hire someone who has credibility in the football arena because right now folks don't trust South Building on that front. ...
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