Next time someone tells you that Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Bo Pelini’s aggressive tendencies turn people off – don’t believe it for a minute.
According to the good folks from Public Policy Polling (PPP), 70 percent of Nebraskans polled had a positive opinion of Pelini and the way he handles himself. Only 14 percent of voters had a negative opinion of him, contrary to what some may believe.
It was also pointed out in the poll analysis that it’s extremely rare to have a state where 70 percent of people even recognize who the head coach of a football program is, much less for them to have such a disproportionately favorable opinion of him.
Corn Nation was able to dig a little bit beneath the surface and get the nitty-gritty on these numbers. Apparently, the only place where Pelini clocked in below 70 percent favorability was among people aged 18 to 29. And the 20 percent that registered as having a negative opinion of him were ultimately tied with the 20 percent who said that they had no opinion on the head coach at all.
Why would people in that 18-29 age bracket have more of a problem with Pelini than others? It’s difficult to say. Perhaps the new school way of thinking revolves a little more around mutual respect and patience trickling down from the top, and that flies directly in the face of the tough love approach that Pelini is renowned for.
Maybe the people currently in the 18-29 age group (closest to Pelini’s players) sympathize more with their own kind and dislike the way that Pelini exhibits his annoyance and/or irritation more than other groups.
That same poll also revealed that Nebraska’s athletic director (AD) Tom Osborne was also extremely popular among Nebraskans. According to the PPP, he was the most popular person on whom the poll has ever received results back. A total of 86 percent of voters in the state had a favorable opinion of the Huskers legend – with only six percent expressing a negative opinion.
And again, while looking at the results a little more closely Corn Nation noted that Osborne ultimately appealed to all demographics regardless of gender, location or age. Even liberals who directly oppose Osborne’s conservative standpoints seemed admiring of him.
The poll also asked how Nebraskans felt about the Huskers’ move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten. Overwhelmingly, 65 percent of responders said that approved of the move. Only 12 percent of people polled said that they wished that Nebraska had remained a Big 12 school. The biggest age group that expressed any sort of disappointment at the Huskers switching conferences fell into the 65+ age category – folks that were obviously used to the rivalries and games that became commonplace over the years.
So, what can be deduced from these findings? Well, for one thing, the notion that Pelini’s act had worn thin over the years is obviously incorrect. Two, Osborne is still as beloved today as he always was. And, finally, Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten, despite a somewhat rocky beginning, is viewed as a good decision.