Great work, man. This is awesome.
Last week, there was a thread about an alleged “MGoBubble” (thread ref)- and that led to a side discussion about the perceived level of support for Rich Rodriguez among various groups of people. In my quest to find some real data (rather than forum posts or polls on Detnews), I came across an organization called Public Policy Polling that conducts state-level polls about voter perceptions of political candidates. In May of 2010, they included questions about Rich Rodriguez for their Michigan poll. They repeated those questions in their Michigan poll this past week. The results, both from May and from December, are very interesting and may be surprising to some.
First of all, the usual caveats:
First of all, let’s look at the May results, after a 3-9 and 5-7 season, and concurrent with the announcement by Michigan of the self-imposed penalties for the NCAA violations (UofM announced those penalties on May 25).
1. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Rich Rodriguez? Based on the May results, it appears that there is a small group of people (20%) who had a favorable view of RR, and a slightly larger but still fairly small group of people (26%) who had an unfavorable view of RR. The majority (54%) were unsure.
The polling organization noted that this is a low favorable rating for one’s own coach. They compared it to the favorable rating that North Carolina fans have for their arch-rival Duke’s basketball coach (46%). For RR to have such a low favorable rating from his own fan base is “exceptionally bad,” according to the polling organization. (source)
2. Would you like to see Rich Rodriguez continue to be Michigan’s football coach this season or would you like to see him replaced? This is a very interesting result - a majority (51%) of people wanted RR to continue for the 2010 season, which implies that a majority of Michigan fans who were “Not sure” of their opinion on RR still wanted him to be the coach. In fact, there was a smaller percentage of fans who wanted him replaced (20%) than who had an unfavorable opinion of him (26%), which implies that even some of his detractors either wanted him to continue as coach this year or were unsure.
Digging a little bit deeper, although this poll doesn’t say anything specifically about UofM students, alumni, current players, or former players, it is possible to address whether age has anything to do with one’s positions on RR. A claim that I have heard on this blog is that RR’s detractors are probably older fans who are more comfortable with traditional power football, and not inclined to support a coach who brings a modern offensive philosophy to the table. In fact, this data appears to show just the opposite - the older the fan, the stronger the support for RR in May. It is the group of fans in the youngest category (18-29) who are the most polarized and who have the strongest negative views on RR.
Why is that? One possible explanation is that the idea of keeping something the same or making a change may be related to one’s political ideology - and that as of May 2010, having RR as the coach was already seen as the status quo. Assuming (the polling organization didn’t publish this specific data) that older fans tend to be conservative, and further assuming that conservatives prefer to keep the status quo, that might partially explain why older fans preferred to keep RR as coach back in May. In that sense, one could argue (although the data doesn’t necessarily say this) that RR was already accepted by those older fans as “a Michigan man” in the sense that his status as football coach was seen as the status quo.
One final interesting result from the May survey. There does appear to be a significant divide in support for RR based on ethnicity. The polling organization didn’t put forward any possible explanation for this ethnicity gap, and I honestly can’t come up with a rationale myself. It is what it is.
A lot has happened in Michigan since May, both in football and in politics. Michigan elected a Republican governor by a large majority, and the UofM football team experienced a winning season under Coach Rodriguez, but suffered double-digit losses to MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and OSU.
So how did the events of the past 6 months affect RR’s favorable rating among UofM fans?
There remains a small core of people (20%, just as in May) who continue to have a favorable opinion of RR, while the group that has an unfavorable opinion has increased (from 26% in May to 38% in December), apparently almost completely from the “Not sure” camp in May (down from 54% in May to 42% in December). The surprising result, for me, is that the largest group (42%) is still “Not sure” about their opinion of RR.
Given that many “Not sure” fans in May still wanted RR to continue, and even some of the fans who viewed RR unfavorably in May didn't necessarily want him replaced, do fans want RR to continue as they look forward to 2011?
Again, there has been a shift in opinion away from a majority of people who wanted RR to continue back in May, to a statistically even split among those who want him to continue (32%), those who want him replaced (35%), and those who are unsure (33%). As in May, there may be some people who have an unfavorable view of RR but do not necessarily want him replaced (38% v. 35%).
Attempting to tease out where those unsure of their opinion of RR stand with respect to having him keep his job, I made a couple of admittedly invalid assumptions:
Not sure of their opinion of RR but want him to continue
Again, this is probably a stretch in terms of interpreting the published data, but it appears that RR’s support for keeping his job among “neutral” UofM fans has eroded significantly.
Digging a little deeper, the May results suggested that the youngest fans (18-29) were the most strongly divided and had the highest percentage of people wanting to replace RR. By contrast, the oldest fans (65+) wanted to keep RR back in May, by a large margin. Has this age profile of support for RR changed in December?
This is a significant change. Not only has RR’s overall support eroded, his support among the “blue hairs” has completely flipped, where more of the oldest respondents (65+) want him replaced than want to keep him.
Respondents age 65+
What about the youngest respondents, who were the most divided back in May? It appears that they are now very unsure of whether they want RR to continue being Michigan's coach.
Respondents age 18-29
What about political ideology? Do even conservative fans, who theoretically would prefer to keep the status quo, still want to keep RR in his position?
Again, this shows almost a complete inversion of the results in May. Back in May, liberals tended to want to replace RR while conservatives tended to want to keep him; now in December, it’s the opposite.
And for the sake of completion, do we still see a dramatic gap in support for RR based on ethnicity?
Although there is still an ethnicity gap, it has narrowed significantly to the point where it appears that one either wants RR to continue, to be replaced, or is unsure - regardless of one’s ethnicity.
Finally, one additional question was asked in the December poll, about who the respondents would like to see as a replacement. No surprise about who leads the pack, but I should point out that Brady Hoke is running a distant third, behind even an “unnamed” candidate.
I’ll be the first to say that it is dangerous, even maliciously deceptive, to extrapolate into the future using data that is not intended to be used that way. So I believe it would be inappropriate to say anything like, “if current trends continue...”, or “another season like this one would probably result in favorable ratings of...”, or “if we lose to MSU and OSU again next year, the percentage of fans who would want to keep RR would probably be...” The data makes no claim to predict the future - it is simply 2 snapshots in time that reveal how opinions have changed since May.
I hope this diary qualifies as “bringing new information” to the table, and also brings forward some reasonably accurate opinion survey data that we can talk about, rather than statements made in a vacuum claiming that “98% of former M football players still alive despise RR” or the idea that “players that played 40-70 years ago...are not a fan of the spread offense...” (thread ref)
Great work, man. This is awesome.
BlueinDC beat me to the punch (http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/poll-35-percent-u-m-fans-want-rodriguez-replaced), but I had to do some number-crunching before I could post this. I hope this is still diary-worthy for the value-added analysis and chartzzz... ;-)
I posted mine in a more journalist-y fashion (my professional background). Yours is an absolutely great read, too. Really enjoyed this.
If I recall correctly, one MGoMember did a similar survey of just MGoBlog readers. Those results are much more telling, in my opinion, as it weeds out the "fairweather" Michigan fans and focuses solely on the dedicated fans/alumni. Nevertheless, this is a great Diary.
That MGoBlog poll might be fine as a way of gauging the views of dedicated fans who happen to use this site, but there are plenty of other dedicated fans who don't use this site--what about them? This community is hardly representative of the overall Michigan fan base. The majority of people here are hard-core Rodriguez supporters who fall within the 20 percent base of support that remained unchanged from May to now.
To SmithersJoe: Thanks for putting this together. I'm sure it took quite a bit of time, but I for one very much appreciate it. The PPP surveys are quite interesting, and your analysis adds a great deal of further food for thought.
I agree 100% (no pun intended). That said, with the MGoPoll, you don't have the same amount of dilution as you do with a survey of the general public. For every "true" and "dedicated" Michigan fan in the public there are probably 5 "fair-weather" fans. That is not the case here on MGoBlog. But my comment was not meant to take away from the work done by the OP - I definitely appreciate this Diary.
That probably explains why such a large percentage of respondents are "not sure" about their opinion of RR. Seeing a survey like this makes me wish for even more data. We make so many assumptions about the fan base, and sometimes a surprising result (shift in support among "blue hairs", and high level of uncertainty among fans 18-29) makes us re-evaluate those assumptions.
I do not believe that is a safe assumption at all. You might be right, but I don't have any reason to believe that MGoReaders are skewed in the Rodriguez camp. First and foremost, we are all Michigan fans and want the best for the program. I could be wrong, but I think your assumption is off.
I think you misinterpret an outspoken minority of people wanting the "CC" threads to end as meaning that MGoReaders are more in favor of Rodriguez than not. That said, I think a previous poster's point that blog readership is most likely younger would lead to potentially skewing the results of the MGoPoll, if true.
I think you continue to be mistaken. The fallout you experienced yesterday was not likely due to your opinion, it likely was due to the fact that you discussed the coaching issue at all. As such, negs are not a proper indicator. You may be right - MGoReaders may be skewed and more "pro-Rodriguez" than other groups. I tend to disagree, but you may be right. Nevertheless, the negs handed out in connection with coaching posts and/or opinions posted in threads are not good indicators of that "fact" (e.g. I've been negging every post with opinions I see, regardless of the actual substance of the opinion).
This site has had an enormous drop off not only from the redundant threads but from the redundant posts. You and your A-bomb friend come to mind.
To think that this site isn't pro RR is to say that peanut butter doesn't taste well with jelly. Basically it's asinine.
Whether or not this site is skewed one way or another, many of us are sick of the CC talk. I will equally nuke a pro-RR thread if it has anything to do to compare to JH. I even agreed not to nuke a thread if people would put two letters in front of it. Even then it seems irresistable to some to keep on doing it. Repeat the following,
No one will know the CC answer until after the Gator Bowl at least. Not you, not the thousands of CC flamers, no one except Dave Brandon and those immediately around him. The subject has been talked about to exhaustion with no new information, just opinions that can be tightly fit into any thread labeled CC.
I doubt this will convince you and I can only imagine you sitting there fuming and typing a defensive and aggresive post to respond to the A-bomb guy. Happy holidays.
I don't need convincing. It's seems as if that is what you're trying to do for yourself. Jokes that are repeated ad nauseum are counterproductive to their purpose. Honestly I don't understand the point of your post. Although I stated that the continual creation of a coaching thread is redundant obviously it was lost on you.
the cheery response I was expecting. Get this, no exhaustive CC talk = no nuke clips. Mind blowing concept, but true. I don't expect you to get the point of that either so keep making a point about whatever you are trying to get across.
If you've been unable to decipher my point then you must be having trouble reading. I take it that it's easier to post pictures/videos and then defend said acts then compile a sound response. Good luck in the future, though.
I did not. None of them came with the stipulation from the athletic directors mouth that would be decided later. None of them had this many threads from fair weather fans nor die hard supporters (if GERG has any). I am going to support Michigan no matter who the coach is come August 2011 and not bitch and whine about a blog's unfounded bias. I guess if it does have a bias, you could always go to another site like M-Zone. I don't think there is a RR bias there.
It sure is, but you seem so upset about the unfairness of the blog to your view I was merely making a suggestion where you would find your surroundings more becoming of your views. Bitch and whine away. I'll post cats and bombs. Open forum it is.
Woo! Sorry, just had to get the last word in. : )
It's easier for you to bitch and whine about posters questioning you. Hard Edge, Bombs..... What will your next redundant post be?
something in Latin.
I doubt it. Hard Edge, Bombs, and Latin. That's too big of a step up for you. Happy Holidays! : )
Beatus feria ad iste ceu ergo.
You disagree with the claim that this board is mostly pro-RR? Seriously? I'd love if we could somehow quantify this issue? A MGB poll, perhaps.
Meantime, though, it seems pretty obvious to me that this board is definitely pro-RR -- though, possibly, it feels that way because the pros tend to be more, shall we say, aggressive in their support. Or am I wrong about that, too?
He's in denial. Any unbiased viewer of the site would tell you that it's probably 75-85% pro RR in here.
are better informed by sources other than the MSM.
The information is much more specific than the broad items you receive with the local media but the mob mentality on mgoblog has swayed many weak minded fans into the pro RR camp because of the fear of being an outsider.
You have a very low opinion of MGoReaders, eh?
It's not the readers it's the posters. With a system set in place that plays to the masses it's hard for many to go against that overwhelming opinion and then to see the negative feedback in the form of negative points, which leads to a negative perception of the poster, or insulting retorts.
That's definitely an interesting viewpoint. So you argue that the posters are not a representative "voice" for the MGoReadership in general? That the posters are inherently more pro-Rodriguez where are the general population is less so? I have no idea whether that's correct or not but its interesting nonetheless. I tend to think you are wrong but have nothing to substantiate my opinion. I tend to think that MGoReaders are more educated and thus more able to form their own educated opinions than the "average" fan that was polled. But maybe that is naiive.
It's not naive but the readership is subjected to a pro RR view with the help of graphs and charts which make people question their opinion even though the same tactics could be implemented for the opposite side.
The projected record logarithm had my friend convinced we would win ten games. Even though he is an extremely intelligent individual he was swayed by fancy charts and numbers. It seems like many of the readers have fallen into the same trap.
realistic Michigan fan expected a 10 win season.
No extremely intelligent and realistic Michigan fan expected to go 1-7 to end 2009 either.
Actually, plenty of perfectly intelligent, reasoned fans believed, in December 2007, that we'd be at a 10-win level by now. Only after we failed miserably the first two years were expectations dropped so much that 7-5 would be hailed as "progress."
The consensus on this site in December 2007 was probably a Big Ten title this year and a national championship in 2011. Now, even expectations for 2011 seem fairly tempered. I've seen people on this site make predictions on the 2011 schedule where they're already chalking up another loss to OSU. I find this mind-boggling. In the coach's fourth year, these people believe Michigan has no chance to beat OSU, yet they still think he should be retained. Why? So he can have a record against OSU of 0-4?
I am an MgoReader. When I found this site, I became, as many of you probably are, addicted. I've been on multiple times EVERY DAY since (I only capitalize because I'm shocked that it's actually true) and have spent, well, probably hours a day researching and reading. I just love Michigan football that much.
Initially drawn by the quick information, opinions, and stats, what came to surprise and sadden me deeply was the intense feuding. Between US.
Man, I love this university. I love this team. It may not mean much to you guys hearing it from me, and I can't have much respect with my "silent" 20 points, but we're Michigan Men. We have the privilege to be associated with the greatest college football team in the world. And we're fighting each other. I feel like I love you guys and I don't even know you.
I just wish we could have intelligent conversation with mutual respect, even admiration, without the backbiting and bitterness toward our brothers. I was so impressed to see the posters that replied to the few Mississippi State posters respond to them with such class. On our website. I just wish we'd do that for each other.
Anyway, yeah, from my perspective, it seemed to me pretty early there is a culture here that forms how people post, or who posts, not as much in the opinions stated, but in the way they're stated, the mobs formed to smoke people. And what I've perceived as intolerance for opposing viewpoints (through negging and criticisms) has led me to remain silent and apart from the drama. I like differing opinions. They challenge and make us. Everyone reads posts that they think are off the wall at times. But if our defense can stick up for each other every time one of them makes a stupid play or rash decision, be patient, and pull together, why can't we? If we as Michigan Men can't stick together as a team, how can we ever ask that of our players, who are going through far greater challenges than we are?
I guess I was inspired by this recent thread of mutual respect. Thank you.
And thank you to every one of you, Michigan Men. For I know you bleed blue. And if we stand together, I know we cannot fail. Let us stand together, fight together, live and breath together, and if necessary, even bleed together. I would bleed with you.
I guess I was inspired by this recent thread of mutual respect. Thank you.
A wise professor once told me that those who have the ideas that can elevate a discussion have the responsibility to share them. I'm glad that this was true for you, and I hope you will take it upon yourself to strive for the not-so-silent 22 in the near future... ;-)
This "Michigan Man" thing really has me scratching my head. The Daily has seen some interesting letters about this term. Here's one:
To be honest, I am not sure that when I went to Michigan I fully understood the term. Did it apply to me - just one of the many nerds getting an engineering degree who never did anything spectacular except break my ass for four years studying and spending as much time as I could having fun?. Was the football team, by virtue of the fact they were in the public eye better Michigan men? We've had a few rather notorious alums - were they Michigan men?
Frankly, I find the term to be overused, both positively and negatively and sometimes suggesting arrogance. Both of my sons attended Michigan fairly recently. I asked them about the term - they both rolled their eyes. They, like me, were in the school of engineering, frat boys, drank way more than I or my wife would have wanted, attended the dance marathons, participated in various organizations on campus, never missed a game, etc. Yet, they were both just good kids who went to Michigan, like the bulk of the 42,000+ other people who attend our school.
Anybody want to take a stab at defining the term.
Welcome back, KOB? It sure seems like you. I've been looking forward to your return.
Also, the voting system here tends to promote a mob mentality, in which dissenting opinions have been systematically downvoted - to the point where many posters have become too discouraged to continue posting. Only recently (after the PSU game, in particular), did it become "safe" to post anything remotely critical of the staff.
I agree. That point was made higher up too.
consider who is more likely to be saying "This Big-East-spread-tomfoolery will never work in the Big Ten! We need 3 yards and a cloud of dust! Reliable and proven!" right now, a recent graduate of U of M who saw The Horror and that posts on a sports blog, or a 52-year-old M alum who "remembers the glory days"?
I would definitely expect (at the very least) less skew against Rodriguez among MGoBloggers, if not an outright significant bias in favor of RR compared to the general fanbase.
Mgoblog's reader base slants heavily towards younger fans. And it is the older fans surveyed in PPP are the ones who wanted Rodriguez gone in comparatively high numbers. So it stands to reason that the Mgoblog-based survey will show a bias in favor of Rodriguez because older fans are underrepresented.
It may depend on when the MGoBlog survey was taken - it does seem like there was a shift in the age profile of those who wanted RR to continue v. those who want him to be replaced. In particular, the 18-29 group seems very uncertain now (75% Not sure).
In some ways, I think this data provides DB with a strategic path, regardless of his decision. There is a significant group of fans who are still unsure of their opinion of RR, and still unsure if they want him to continue or be replaced. In terms of political polls, this is probably like "undecided voters" who still could be swayed either way. This appears especially true for the younger fans.
It also points out some of the risks DB will take if he chooses to keep RR - some of the older fans have crystallized their opinions against RR, and DB may need to take some proactive steps to ameliorate that opposition.
Sometimes, looking at data doesn't just have to be about answering yes or no to the CC question itself - sometimes it can provide additional, useful avenues for discussion about process, strategy, and opportunity.
... would look like if someone asked the same questions in May v. December about Dave Brandon.
When I look at the December data, the 30-45 and 46-65 aren't as different as I would have assumed, having read countless "blue hairs are against RR" posts throughout the comments in this blog. That doesn't really appear to be the case.
very nice job!