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Manti Te'o Hoax Poll Finds Split On Star Player's Involvement

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In a photo provided by ESPN, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o pauses during an interview with ESPN on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/ESPN Images, Ryan Jones) | AP

Even after his sit-down interview with Katie Couric, in which he claimed he had been the victim of an elaborate hoax and had been unaware that his online girlfriend had never existed, nobody knows quite what to think about Manti Te'o, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

The survey, conducted Jan. 24-25, found that 25 percent of respondents believe Te'o was the victim of a hoax, another 25 percent said that he participated in the hoax, while 50 percent said they weren't sure.

Even respondents who correctly identified the reason, from a list of possible alternatives, that Te'o was in the news because of "a hoax involving his girlfriend" were equally divided on whether Te'o was lying or telling the truth. Thirty percent of those respondents said he was telling the truth, 30 percent said he was lying and was a participant in the hoax, and 40 percent said they weren't sure.

The poll found that most Americans have heard about the controversy surrounding Te'o. Forty percent of respondents said they had heard a lot about the story, and another 39 percent said they'd heard a little, while 21 percent said they had heard nothing at all. In addition, 77 percent of respondents correctly identified the controversy surrounding Te'o as "a hoax involving his girlfriend," while only 2 percent were fooled by alternatives, including "use of anabolic steroids" and "a recruiting violation."

The survey found that 15 percent of people have a favorable opinion and 23 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Te'o, while 62 percent aren't sure.

The latest HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 24-25 among 1,000 U.S. adults. The poll used a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling.

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