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Who’s America’s Favorite TV Dad?

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6-18-homespunRISMEDIA, June 18, 2009-Whether it was always having time for a game of catch or being able to solve big problems in just 30 minutes, dads from television shows may have triggered occasional thoughts of, “wow, why isn’t my dad like that?” The top dad that Americans would like to have had when they were growing up brings back memories of sweaters, lots of sweaters. Dr. Cliff Huxtable of The Cosby Show tops the list. Coming in at number two is the Beaver’s dad, Ward Cleaver of Leave it to Beaver, followed by Jim Anderson of Father Knows Best at number three on the list. Opie’s dad, Andy Taylor of The Andy Griffith Show is in at number four while David and Ricky’s dad, Ozzie Nelson of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet rounds out the top five.

These are some of the results from The Harris Poll®, a new study of 2,681 U.S. adults surveyed online between May 11 and 18, 2009 by Harris Interactive®.

Looking further into the list, it’s a story of a man named Mike Brady of The Brady Bunch who is at number six while the Fonz’s favorite dad, Howard “Mr. C” Cunningham of Happy Days is at number seven. Even while tilling fields and settling western lands, “Pa” Charles Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie had time for Half-pint, so he’s in at number eight while another Western icon, Ben Cartwright of Bonanza is at number nine. In at number ten is the accident prone Tim Taylor of Tool Time and Home Improvement.

Diving a bit deeper on the list of favorite TV dads, at number 11 is D.J.’s, Stephanie’s and Michelle’s dad, Danny Tanner of Full House and the father-in-law who gave Meathead problems, Archie Bunker of All in the Family is at number 12. Rounding out the top fifteen are Steve Douglas of My Three Sons at number 13, then in a tie for the 14th spot, Homer Simpson of The Simpsons and Al Bundy of Married with Children.

Favorites among Different Groups

Normally, different groups all have their own favorite. With television dads, this isn’t the case as only one group (Matures, those aged 64 and older) did not pick Cliff Huxtable as their favorite TV dad; for Matures it is Jim Anderson. Now, for second favorite there are definitely differences, especially in generation. For Matures, Cliff Huxtable is their second favorite while for Baby Boomers (those aged 45-63) it is Ward Cleaver. Gen Xers (those aged 33-44) pick Mike Brady and Echo Boomers (those aged 18-32) say Danny Tanner is their second favorite television dad.

So What?

Maybe it isn’t a surprise to some due to the number of crime shows, reality shows and competitions on television today, but there is only one television dad on the list that is currently on prime-time television, Homer Simpson. While reruns and fond memories bring these other television dads to mind, the next generation may not have the same memories of watching prime-time TV and watching a sitcom father sit down 26 minutes into the show and solve the episode’s problems. Of the top 15 television dads, seven of them are from shows from the 1950s or 1960s and 2 were set in the 1950s or earlier. Maybe it is the economic crisis or just a desire for the days of old, but it seems when picking their favorites, Americans are looking back to simpler times and maybe even happier times.

This Harris Poll® was conducted online within the United States May 11 and 18, 2009, among 2,681 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. Full data tables and methodology are available at www.harrisinteractive.com. These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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