The poll released Friday by the Hamden, Conn., school also indicated nearly three-quarters of those queried supported the firing of university President Graham Spanier in the handling of sexual abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky is facing charges he molested 10 boys he met through a charity he founded. Some of the alleged abuse occurred on university grounds.
The Quinnipiac poll indicated 52 percent of those queried said the firing of Paterno was the right thing to do while 43 percent said they opposed the action. On the firing of Spanier, the result was 74 percent in favor and 13 percent against.
Sixty-five percent said football has too much influence at Penn State and 48 percent said the school should compensate the victims if Sandusky is convicted.
The poll was conducted Nov. 28-Dec. 5 and surveyed 1,453 registered voters. The margin of error was 2.6 percentage points.