Poll Translation

In yesterday’s N&O, Ken Tysiac penned an article about a Public Policy poll suggesting that Wolfpack fans are apathetic about Gottfried.  Now I’m not a professional pollster but I have reviewed enough of them to know there are several variables that go into a poll to produce the results: sample size, target group, what questions are asked, and how the questions are worded. Here are the actual poll results from Public Policy Polling

When I first read the Tysiac article I had some pretty immediate impressions.

Public Policy polling reports that 63 percent of self-identified N.C. State fans have no opinion of Gottfried, the former Alabama coach who most recently was an ESPN analyst and was hired April 5 at N.C. State.

Translation: Don’t expect ticket sales to increase for next year.

Fans remained divided on whether firing former coach Sidney Lowe was the right decision. Thirty-three percent agree now that Lowe needed to go, while 26 percent thought he should have been retained.

Translation: 26% of our fanbase can’t tie their own shoes, while 41% don’t even know we play basketball anymore.

Why do I say this about ticket sales and 1/4 of our fanbase walking around about to trip over their own shoelaces? Well let’s look at some numbers here (you guys should know by know by now I’m all about numbers).

Let’s look at attendance first:

As you can see from the chart and graph our attendance numbers have been pretty steady for the last 10 years. Our biggest increase came in Lowe’s second season after he took an undermanned team to the NIT Quaterfinals and had a big signing class featuring JJ Hickson. Then the following season saw our biggest drop in attendance thanks to that miserable second season. Heck, even the season following Sendek’s Hodge’s trip to the Sweet 16 we only saw a 0.1% increase in attendance. This past season we saw a 3.0% increase in attendance numbers thanks to a combination of making it to the 2nd round of the NIT the previous season but more importantly a banner freshmen class. So as you can see, winning is not enough, we need some excitement and reason to believe we will win to bring in the fans. With “63% of self-identified NC State fans” having no opinion of Coach Gottfried, that doesn’t exactly scream an excited fanbase. Add in a situation very similar to Lowe’s first season with lack of bodies with only one guard and no exciting freshmen coming in, well, you get the picture.

Add in this quote from MG yesterday at the Wolfpack Carovan and I’m not getting a thrill up my leg, even if it is the truth.

”We’re just a long way aways from being an NCAA tournament team,” Gottfried said with the media before talking with the gathered crowd at the football practice facility next to Carter-Finley Stadium. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Now let’s look at that 26% of our fanbase who I wouldn’t trust with a potato gun:

I believe in the 10% Rule. Ten percent of any group will believe anything: Moon landing was faked, Roswell, that’s Donald Trump’s real hair. What I can’t understand is anyone who would believe that Lowe deserved another year when you look at his results over his 5 years as the Wolfpack head coach. The numbers don’t lie, the man just couldn’t coach. Now this isn’t to pile on Lowe, we’ve all said our peace and moved on, but “26% of our fanbase” will someday be nominated for a Darwin Award.

Well after all that I began to dig deeper and looked at the Poll article instead of taking the N&O’s point of view. This is what I found:

27% of North Carolina voters claim to root for NCSU, including 31% in the 919 area code which encompasses Raleigh and the surrounding metro area.

PPP surveyed 507 North Carolina voters, including 137 N.C. State fans, from April 14th to 17th. The margin of error for the entire sample is +/-4.4%, and +/-8.4% for State fans.

That’s a pretty big margin of error for those who identify themselves as NC State fans. The rest of the questions pertaining to Gottfried, Lowe, and Yow, were only taken from the 137 State fans. Still, even if you took the best case scenario you end up with approximately 18% of the fanbase who disagreed with the firing of Lowe.

If you’re one of the 26%, buy Velcro.

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

Mark Gottfried NC State NCS Basketball Sidney Lowe

26 Responses to Poll Translation

  1. Hungwolf 04/29/2011 at 8:24 AM #

    No doubt given the info coming from the players recently that we made the right decision. Player unrest and unhappiness seems to define Lowe’s tenure as coach. Looks like we would have lost Harrow, Leslie, and more had we kept Coach Lowe. Give Sid credit for stepping down and being a class act about everything. Nothing to be ashamed of some great coaches have not been able to cross over the pro and college ranks and be successful at both. I don’t have problem with the poll. Hard not to like Sidney Lowe, he made kids go to class, and cared about his players on and off the court. And he cared about NCSU, its tradition, its former players, and its future. More than I can say about the coach before him! Thanks Sid, we wish you well!

  2. newt 04/29/2011 at 8:37 AM #

    The entire poll is garbage just like Public Policy’s other sports-related polls concluding that fans support Butch Davis and more poeople like UNC than Duke.

    When I saw this blog from Tysiac, I was glad that I saw no response at all from the Twitter community and hoped it would just go unnoticed.

    These polls are the brainchild of Tom Jensen, UNC homer who directs PP polling (even though it’s creator was a State grad.)


  3. GAWolf 04/29/2011 at 8:53 AM #

    Nice stuff, Jiga.

  4. VaWolf82 04/29/2011 at 8:53 AM #

    26% of our fanbase can’t tie their own shoes, while 41% don’t even know we play basketball anymore.

    Since the numbers support this conclusion, I’m thinking that the poll might be more accurate than you are giving it credit for. 😉

    Nice piece.

  5. yukuntz 04/29/2011 at 8:56 AM #

    ^ By all means give credit to “Sid for stepping down”?

  6. BJD95 04/29/2011 at 9:00 AM #

    I absolutely love the potato gun line. LMAO.

  7. Wolfy__79 04/29/2011 at 9:43 AM #

    i move to rename the poll “the donald’s real hair!”

    thanks for the additional work and perspective on the “numbers.”

    i expect the numbers to be about the same next year and potentially a spike towards mid acc season at the latest. there are alot of wolfpack faithful that are really close to being behind our basketball that just need to see a little vision & winning to fill that place to my guess a high 70% of capacity.

    those of us whom can’t tie our shoes still blindly support our athletics based on the hope that things are better than they seem??

  8. golf76 04/29/2011 at 10:32 AM #

    In July 6, 1999 this poll showed 18 percent of Americans still believed the sun revolves around the earth. By now that number has got to be down to 15-16 percent so we’re making progress . . . I think.

    “Four out of Five Americans Know Earth Revolves Around Sun
    Probing a more universal measure of knowledge, Gallup also asked the following basic science question, which has been used to indicate the level of public knowledge in two European countries in recent years: “As far as you know, does the earth revolve around the sun or does the sun revolve around the earth?” In the new poll, about four out of five Americans (79%) correctly respond that the earth revolves around the sun, while 18% say it is the other way around. These results are comparable to those found in Germany when a similar question was asked there in 1996; in response to that poll, 74% of Germans gave the correct answer, while 16% thought the sun revolved around the earth, and 10% said they didn’t know. When the question was asked in Great Britain that same year, 67% answered correctly, 19% answered incorrectly, and 14% didn’t know.” GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

  9. SMD 04/29/2011 at 10:34 AM #

    I have worked with PPP professionally, and one of the problems they have is how their polls are conducted. They don’t use live operators asking questions, it’s all automated via touchtone phone. This can skew their results.

    31% of NCians being State fans sounds about right, so I’ve got no quibble with that. However there’s no way that you can use the people in their sample pool to accurately reflect the opinion of State fans. At the very least, they need some crosstabs such as – alumni, WPC member, season ticket holder, etc.

  10. 808WOLF 04/29/2011 at 10:39 AM #
  11. ChemE79a 04/29/2011 at 10:48 AM #

    Another thing to remember about a poll like this: a certain percentage of the “fan’ base does not care about winning and losing. If the kids stay out of trouble, graduate and sound literate when interviewed – they are happy. Add in a coach who is well liked, stays out of trouble and is an alum – they are ecstatic.

    I am not saying it is a lot of folks – but it is enough to make up a big part of the 18%.

  12. DC_wolf 04/29/2011 at 11:33 AM #

    Jeez… forget the “poll” – look @ those last 2 charts – how disheartening. Folks, we are trailing Miami and B.C. in basketball relevance. That just makes my blood boil. A once proud basketball school now @ the bottom of the heap… nipping at everyone else’s heels.

    Thanks for the nice job jigawatts but I must admit I’m now in somewhat of a crappy mood…

  13. newt 04/29/2011 at 11:52 AM #

    I don’t think any fan doesn’t care about winning/losing, at least not by my definition.

    My read is that most people don’t like change, and 18% of people don’t like change even when it’s obvious change is needed.

  14. UnclePen 04/29/2011 at 11:55 AM #

    Yes the poll is very shaky (and shoddy).

    FYI 47 percent of Americans can’t find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.

  15. gotohe11carolina 04/29/2011 at 12:14 PM #

    i guess i’m one of those guys with the potato gun in front of his face but hear me out. i only thought we should keep lowe because there weren’t any homerun options available. if we’d pulled the trigger on miller last year i would’ve been fine showing sid out, but think about the hot coaching candidates this year; shaka- only did it one year, marshall-recently signed an extension with wsu, barnes- c’mon guys, and imo the only guy we should’ve offered the job to, stevens- just signed a crazy long contract extension through the 2040 season or something ridiculous like that. so i by no means thought sid was ripping it up but we could’ve given another young coach a season to develop or maybe realise that butler is in the middle of ind. and who the hell wants to live or play basketball there, oh and 2+ million is a real nice payday.

  16. STLPack01 04/29/2011 at 12:16 PM #

    with only 137 people polled, the margin of error is higher than 8% I would think. Do they release if or how they classified those 137 to try for an accurate cross-section? If this was a subset of another poll, it pretty much renders the results meaningless.

  17. ryebread 04/29/2011 at 12:33 PM #

    +1 to DC. DFL in the ACC over the last 5 years and it really isn’t even close. We’re below Miami and BC — who fired a coach who left them with a zero man recruiting class. WTF?!!?!?

    (@#$*@#$(* Lee Fowler. Incompetent sack.

  18. 1.21 Jigawatts 04/29/2011 at 12:36 PM #

    STL, click on the PPP link provided at the top. From there you can read the analysis and the data to see how it was all broken down. I wasn’t about to get into what each sex, race, and age thought of the questions. I know I don’t put my humor out there much but half of this article is serious and half is pure humor. I’ll let each person decide which is which.

  19. MP 04/29/2011 at 12:55 PM #

    Nice post. As with others, the 5-year record made the biggest impression on me. Not only DFL – But 4 games worse than the T-10’s!


  20. tractor57 04/29/2011 at 2:13 PM #

    In an unscientific poll my college buddy and I agree we are supportive of the hire.

    MG might well be a total bust but we don’t think that will happen.

  21. bill.onthebeach 04/29/2011 at 3:12 PM #

    Other polls by comparison:

    35-40% of the Englishmen living in America moved back to England between 1776-1778.

    40% of British citizens were in favor of a negotiated peace with Hitler after the Battle of London in 1940-41.

    On any given Sunday, in any given church in North Carolina, 1/3 of the members are *ready* for a new minister, 1/3 think the current one is the best they ever had and 1/3 have no strong opinion either way and wish the rest of the folks would quit arguing and move on to more important matters.

    And then there is the classic line: there are lies, damn lies and statistics .

    I did my first “poll” in the political science dept at NCSU many years ago with Dr. Holtzman and others. At the same time, my buddies and I in Alexander enjoyed the first national bball championship and everything that came with it. My oldest daughter will graduate from State in two weeks and the I am pretty sure that the kids there today are clueless as to what it really means to have championship caliber athletics.

    And the bottom line is that I can make any poll, yours or mine, say pretty much anything you, or I, want it to say.

    FWIW, all I want is a school and athletic teams that we *all* can be proud of for lots of reasons and I am cautiously optimistic about the future.

  22. Hamlet 04/29/2011 at 4:05 PM #

    Great stuff, Jiga! Excellent take on this, as usual.

    I actually believe that there are more ‘dumb’ N.C. State fans than at UNC or Duke, and it isn’t even close. Maybe ‘naive’ is a better word than ‘dumb’ in the sense that many just no longer expect us to win and have either neer experienced winning and thus have a losre’s mentality, or have bought the garbage fed to them by the administration and clueless AD’s and coaches over the years. So it is a safe bet to assume that we have more apathy than those schools in our fan base.

    The only real surprise to me is the fact that we have as many fans as we do considering the twenty year dumpster fire that has been N.C. State athletics.

  23. ryebread 04/29/2011 at 5:36 PM #

    hamlet: I think our fanbase and alumni over the last 20 years have been systematically “trained” by the media, the administration and the faculty that:
    1) Winning is bad
    2) That if we’re winning at NC State then we must be cheating
    3) That only UNC and Duke are winners and thus can expect to win
    4) That we should not expect to win and ultimately are losers

    I hate that mentality. What I hate worse is those who believe it.

    The only merit to the argument is that you can’t expect to get top flight results when you are only willing to spend at the bottom. Yes, you may have an occasional outlier that far outperforms what has been invested, but it’s ultimately an uphill battle that we’ve been fighting far too long. I’ll believe that we’re committed to excellence when our spending reflects it.

  24. Hamlet 04/29/2011 at 5:47 PM #

    My apologies for the typos and such. The “Edit” function does not work properly for me (page turns black) and my laptop is running slower than molasses at the moment.

  25. Greywolf 04/30/2011 at 10:42 AM #

    one source of upset is unfulfilled expectations. I have learned over the almost 74 years I’ve lived to minimize my expectations. Expecting NCSU to win because that’s what I want is asking for upset. Getting my shorts in a wad in April of 2011 over what “should” happen in March of 2012 when there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it, makes no sense to me. And that’s why I don’t have an opinion of what MG might or might not do. I’m waiting the games to be played to do that.

    But you young whippersnappers have at it. 😉

Leave a Reply