Almost 11 months after the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case was brought to the public eye, feelings of unhappiness with the Sandusky investigation and the NCAA sanctions are still present in Pennsylvania.
In a recent poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall College, findings show that only 17 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania believe Gov. Tom Corbett did an excellent or good job in investigating the Sandusky case as attorney general, according to the Franklin & Marshall’s Center for Opinion Research.
Meanwhile, the poll showed that about 65 percent of registered voters think that Corbett did a fair or poor job in the investigation.
More than 95 percent of voters reported knowing a great deal or a fair amount about the Sandusky case, according to the poll.
The poll also showed that 54 percent of registered voters in the state believe that the NCAA sanctions against the football program are unfair.
Corbett’s press office was unable to provide a comment by press time Tuesday.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Pennsylvania residents have questions about how the [Sandusky] investigation was handled,” Chairman of the Centre County Democratic Committee Greg Stewart said.
The poll, which surveyed 632 registered voters in the state of Pennsylvania, consisted of 318 Democrats, 236 Republicans and 78 registered Independents or other affiliations, according to Franklin & Marshall.
The survey was completed under G. Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall College Poll. According to the poll, the sample was taken from Voter Contact Services and consisted of survey questions about national and state elections.
According to the poll, the candidates running for attorney general have both called for a review of the Sandusky case, and 49 percent of registered voters also think that the case should be reviewed.
“The next attorney general should do a thorough investigation,” Stewart said.
Chairman of the Penn State College Republicans Jordan Harris (senior-history) said that a lot of people in the Penn State community wanted to deflect blame and push responsibility on someone for the Sandusky case, which happened to be Corbett.
Harris said it is natural for people to do this, and that judgment has yet to be made on how well he did in the investigation.
Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said that it’s hard to know what exactly happened in the investigation. He said it might help if Corbett could come out and explain what he did and didn’t do in the investigation and why.
How this poll will affect Corbett in the future is hard to predict, Pipe said.
“It’s still too early to say how this will affect him if he runs in 2014,” he said. “If he were running for attorney general, it might hurt him, but it shouldn’t since he’s running for a different office.”
Harris said that this investigation could be a contributing factor in 2014, and that it is a complex issue.
But Pipe said that there are also positive things that could balance out his role in the investigation, such as creating jobs, which would positively effect Corbett in the future.
Berwood Yost, director of the Floyd Institute of Public Policy at Franklin & Marshall and head methodologist for the Franklin & Marshall College poll, said that a lot could change before this poll has an effect on Corbett.
Right now, Yost said that Corbett’s low approval rate could vary with changes, such as in the economy, but the Sandusky case could also have an impact on Corbett.
“Gov. Corbett has a low approval rate. That’s a big problem for him. A lot of voters have not been happy with his job performance in general,” he said. “It’s not certain these will stay the same.”
Centre County Republicans Secretary and Executive Director Deb Flavin wrote in an email that she believes Pennsylvania has more to worry about than Corbett’s handling of the Sandusky case as attorney general.
Yost also said that there are other factors that could impact how people think of Corbett and his job performance, and that his performance can change over time, too.
“In the broadest sense, Pennsylvania is dissatisfied with how he’s handling his job,” he said. “Most people feel that he did poorly with the investigation.”