SUN Hockey Pool

QMI hockey polling produces surprising results

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media in New York last month when public opinion was...

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media in New York last month when public opinion was largely against him. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:57 PM ET

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman seems to be winning the labour war -- if only by a few percentage points.

As the NHL lockout drags on it appears the marketing research firm the league hired to do its dirty work is beginning to produce results.

QMI polling as of Tuesday showed that the league's top boss has added almost four points to his overall approval rating compared with poll results at the start of the lockout.

Bettman now is considered a "strong leader" by 16.9% of respondents, up from 13.3% in the previous poll.

The new numbers reflect a shift in apportioning the blame a little over one month into the work stoppage.

While 50% of Sun Media respondents blame "both sides" for the lockout, 33% of hockey fans now blame "greedy players" for the standoff, more than double the percentage who blamed the players a month ago. The remaining 17% blame the NHL.

Most alarming for the league would be the obvious increase in disgruntled fans, whose pessimism has taken over following the NHL's decision to cancel games through Nov. 1.

Whereas many September respondents were optimistic hockey would return this season, 70% of Sun Media respondents now believe the NHL won't reconvene until next season.

Of those who responded to the above question, that same percentage said they've "had enough ... and will watch less hockey," an increase of nine percentage points over a survey issued at the start of the lockout.

To see the results of the 18 poll questions, click here.


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