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Published May 16, 2012, 09:02 PM

Kelley Not Surprised by Nickname Poll; Supporters Not Giving Up

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - UND President Robert Kelley says results from an exclusive Forum Communications poll are what he thought they would be.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - UND President Robert Kelley says results from an exclusive Forum Communications poll are what he thought they would be.

Kelley says many voters are realizing what's at stake if the university is forced to keep the name. But some nickname supporters say the poll results are close enough that the vote could still swing either way.

The opposing sides of the UND Fighting Sioux nickname issue see the poll number results differently.

"I see that the state of North Dakota is going to support saving the name. That's just my gut feeling," nickname supporter Archie Fool Bear said.

Fool Bear believes there is more support for the Sioux nickname than the numbers show.

"I don't put too much stock in polls. It's the grassroots people out on the street out here, that see what is going on. If this poll is generated for one side or the other, or payed for one side, we expect those results," Fool Bear said.

"People are recognizing that the price is very high by keeping the nickname," Kelley said.

Kelley says seeing that 56 percent of those polled favor retiring the name, is a very positive sign.

"I think they are being very well informed and they are hearing what it is concerning the university. The risks are real to our athletic program and we do want to be on a level paying field and by continued NCAA sanctions we do not have that competitive level field," Kelley said.

There has been plenty of effort to convince people to vote "yes," which means retire the nickname, on Measure 4, including a four-city North Dakota tour by the UND Alumni Association and Foundation earlier this month. Work that these polls show may be paying off.

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