Andy Griffith Down 25 Points

Beloved comedian and character actor Andy Griffith's popularity in his home state has plummeted since making commercials endorsing ObamaCare and some Democratic candidates.

Beloved comedian and character actor Andy Griffith’s popularity in his home state has plummeted since making commercials endorsing ObamaCare and some Democratic candidates.

Tom Jensen:

Our latest North Carolina poll found Griffith at 44/22 in the state for a net favorability of +22. That represents a 25 point decline from June of 2008 when Griffith was at a net +47 (56/9.)

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. His 53% favorability with Democrats right now is only slightly down from 57% in the June 2008 poll. But with Republicans he’s dropped all the way from 57% to 35%. He’s only barely on positive ground with GOP voters, as 31% of them see him unfavorably.

As Jim Treacher snarks, “Andy Griffith throws away 50 years of good faith in 30 seconds.”

This is another case of Shut Up And Sing!  The number of celebrities who spout of on controversial political matters thinking they’re going to change minds astounds me.  Almost without fail, all they manage to do is alienate fans.

Speaking for myself, I don’t much care what celebrities think.  Certainly, I’m not going to change my movie-going or music listening habits based on whether I agree or disagree with their politics.   But there’s a limit.     I don’t mind that Steve Earle supports lefty causes; it’s his right as an American.  But his tendency to go off on a rant during a show makes me less likely to buy another ticket.  It’s not a good idea to insult or offend the paying customers.

As for Griffith, 50 years of good faith goes a long way.  It’s not as if I’m going to turn off the “Andy Griffith Show” or “No Time For Sergeants” the next time I happen upon it because he supports ObamaCare.   But, to teach him a lesson, I’m going to stop watching episodes of the former that are in color.

UPDATE: Commenter Tano asks, “[W]here is your evidence that such endorsements don’t have any effect on average voters?”

There have been quite a few studies on the matter and they’re pretty consistent.   See, for example, this release from this past April titled “Study: Celebrity Endorsements Do Not Help Political Candidates.”  The key takeaway:

Two new studies from North Carolina State University show that young voters are not swayed by celebrity endorsements of political candidates – and sometimes voters like the candidate less as a result of receiving a celebrity’s endorsement.

There were several stories of this type back in the fall of 2007, when Oprah Winfrey tossed her considerable weight behind Barack Obama.  Forbes had a piece, backed by unclear evidence, arguing that the power of celebrity endorsers was a function of the popularity of the celebrity, the name recognition of the endorsee, and the age of the person receiving the message.    Basically, very young voters were somewhat influenced by a handful of very popular celebrities on the matter of candidates for whom they had very little previous knowledge.   And the endorsement of unpopular celebrities was somewhat harmful.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. JD says:

    “Free check ups”… ?
     
    FAIL

  2. sam says:

    And yet he’s far more popular than Jim Treacher.

  3. Tano says:

    The number of celebrities who spout of on controversial political matters thinking they’re going to change minds astounds me.  Almost without fail, all they manage to do is alienate fans.

     
    How do you know that? I am sure that celebrity endorsers have zero effect on you, or me for that matter – but we are political junkies who search for and consume lots of relevant news on a daily basis.
     
    The average folks are not that way. For them, an endorsement of a candidate or a bill could very well work the same way that an endorsement of a product does. Do you think the Andy Griffiths types are useles when it comes to selling stuff?
     
    We see his poll favorabilities go down – which is obviously going to happen no matter which way he goes. If he endorses one side, the other side will be less favorably disposed. But where is your evidence that such endorsements don’t have any effect on average voters?

  4. mantis says:

    First of all, why are pollsters polling on Andy Griffith?  Is Matlock running for President of Medicare or something?
     
    The number of celebrities who spout of on controversial political matters thinking they’re going to change minds astounds me.


    Well, some celebrities actually believe in what they are saying, just like a whole lot of us citizens.  Also consider that in this instance, you’re talking about an 84 year old man who probably isn’t all that concerned about building a fan base.

    Also, it’s helpful to recruit celebrities as spokespeople for political causes, because if you have regular people do it, Michelle Malkin and the wingnut brigade will find out where they live and start stalking them.

  5. Jim Treacher says:

    That’s no snark. That’s what happened. Well, maybe some of both…

  6. Jim Treacher says:

    And yet he’s far more popular than Jim Treacher.

    And I’m far more popular than you. Now what?

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Apropos of James’ “Shut Up and Sing” comment, I always thought Frank Zappa was a genius, but once I was out of adolescence the only albums of his I listened to were the “Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar” series.  I saw him live once and decided never to do so again solely based on his endless rants against all things great and small.  The subjects for the most part escape me, except for one endless whine about the wrongs his record label had done him.

  8. Pug says:

    And I’m far more popular than you. Now what?

    I think you overestimate your popularity, sir.

  9. sam says:

    @Pug
     

    I think you overestimate your popularity, sir.
     

    I think he’s more popular than I am in wingnut circles. That’s gotta count for something, not a lot, but something.

  10. Jim Treacher says:

    I think you overestimate your popularity, sir.

    Oh wait, it’s that Sam? Never mind, then.

    I think he’s more popular than I am in wingnut circles.

    Not at all, they rave about you.

  11. Nikki says:

    Oh dear lord. We’re retreating to “I know you are, but what am I?” now??

  12. Jim Treacher says:

    We’re retreating to “I know you are, but what am I?” now??

    Retreat? That was Sam’s opening salvo.

  13. sam says:

    Well, you see, Treacher just has to have the last word or his testosterone level drops or something, I don’t know.  (Just watch.)

  14. Jim Treacher says:

    Well, you see, Treacher just has to have the last word

    No need to be peevish.

  15. Steve Plunk says:

    Give Sheriff Taylor a break.  This was likely a paid endorsement and with his public pension underfunded a little cash cushion would help pay the soaring Mayberry property taxes.  Opie’s kids are begging money for college tuition that has far outpaced the Taylor clan’s ability to pay.  Let’s not even talk about what gas costs these days and those trips to Mt. Pilot use a lot of gas.

  16. Drew says:

    Citizen’s arrest……..citizen’s arrest!!!!

  17. wr says:

    I’m all for the ACA, but one ad from Andy Griffith would be enough to turn me against it.

    But then, I’ve worked with the man…

  18. mike says:

    Ernest T. says, “Andy, how could you?”