Exclusive Polling Results

Official Press Release for August 15, 2012


Shock Penn State Poll: 45% of Americans Mistakenly Believe Joe Paterno May Have Been a Child Molester


A shocking, brand new, highly scientific, national public opinion poll commissioned by the website www.FramingPaterno.com has found a dramatic lack of knowledge with regard to the basic facts of the role of Joe Paterno and Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky scandal and raises significant questions about the nature of the media coverage of the case.

The scientific poll of over 1,000 adults was conducted by highly respected Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research on behalf of Los Angeles-based documentary filmmaker John Ziegler. Ziegler is studying the media's impact of the public's knowledge of the Sandusky case, along with four other accomplished writers/researchers, for their new website www.FramingPaterno.com and for a proposed documentary film, "The Framing of Joe Paterno."

Despite being designed for respondents to easily recognize the correct answers of mostly true/false questions, the poll results indicate that only 55% of Americans know that Joe Paterno was not accused of molesting children. Similarly, an incredible 68% incorrectly thought that a description of the little covered Syracuse child abuse case was actually that of the so called Penn State scandal (an astounding 1 % correctly identified Syracuse, despite it being a multiple choice question).

Overall, respondents collectively failed to achieve even close to a meager 60% "success" rate on ANY of eight simple true/false questions about the basic facts of the case. On six of the nine overall "knowledge" questions respondents did FAR worse than if they had simply guessed. The average "correct response" rate for all eight true/false questions was a stunningly low 21%.

Seven of the true/false questions deal directly with potentially "Pro-Paterno" facts which the media has largely ignored. The range of the "correct response" rate for these questions was from just 25% to an absolutely absurd 9%. Interestingly, Pennsylvania residents scored significantly better than average on all but two of the questions.

The tenth question of the poll measured opinion on the overall media coverage of Joe Paterno and, like the rest of the survey, it is a damning indictment of the state of journalism. Despite the lack of any other perspective currently being aired in the mainstream media, and the obvious ignorance to the "Pro-Paterno" facts of many of those polled, only 52% of Americans say that the media coverage of Joe Paterno during the scandal has been fair and accurate.

"This poll may prove our case that the media has effectively 'framed' Joe Paterno by creating a false and ratings-driven narrative about this story," said Ziegler. "This is a classic case of garbage information in, garbage information out."

Ziegler's Op-ed piece for several Pennsylvania newspapers explaining the poll can be read here.

The basic results of Wilson's poll can be found here, and the internal cross tabulations can be seen here.