Andy Griffith, as Sheriff Andy Taylor in "The Andy Griffith Show," used his folksy charm to keep the peace in Mayberry, the fictional stand-in for his own Mount Airy, N.C., hometown. But according to numbers released this week by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, the beloved North Carolina resident's endorsement of Democratic causes and candidates has dented his statewide approval numbers.
"There's not much doubt that it's Griffith's forays into politics, most recently in support of the health care bill, that are driving down his poll numbers," said the poll report. "His 53 percent favorability with Democrats right now is only slightly down from 57 percent in the June 2008 poll. But with Republicans he's dropped all the way from 57 percent to 35 percent. He's only barely on positive ground with GOP voters, as 31 percent of them see him unfavorably."
In 2008, Griffith and Ron Howard reprised their roles as Sheriff Andy and his son, Opie, in an ad endorsing Barack Obama. And in July, the 84-year-old Manteo, N.C., resident made an ad for the U.S. government touting the "good things" to come from the Democratic-backed health care bill:
"Clearly it's pushback from the president's health care plan," Brad Crone, a Democratic consultant who is working with legislative candidates, told the News & Observer to explain Griffith's plunging poll numbers in a state where Mount Airy's Andy Griffith museum is a tourist spot. "It's a good time to call up Barney Fife."
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