Maybe It’s the Sweaters; Cliff Huxtable is the TV Dad Americans Would Have Wanted Growing Up

June 13, 2011

NEW YORK, June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – The dilemma exists each year – how to treat dad on the day honoring fathers? Maybe it’s a new tie, something for his golf game or just letting him take a Sunday afternoon for himself to do whatever he wants, even if it’s just sitting on the couch and watching a baseball game. For America’s Favorite Television Dad, the best gift might be a new sweater. As in 2009, the television father Americans would have liked to have had when they were growing up is Bill Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable of The Cosby Show. Rounding out the top three favorite television dads are two classic 1950 ones – Ward Cleaver of Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best’s Jim Anderson as number two and number three respectively, unchanged from 2009.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,184 adults surveyed online between May 9 and 16, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Classic television dads also take hold for much of the rest of the top ten. Acting as a dad to not only Richie, Joanie and Chuck but also The Fonz, Potsie and Ralph is Howard Cunningham on Happy Days at number four while Opie’s dad, Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show is number 5. There is a story, of a man named Mike Brady who ran The Brady Bunch and is number 6 on the list while Ozzie Nelson of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is number 7. Half-Pint’s Pa, Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie is number 8, the tool-man, Tim Taylor of Home Improvement is number 9 and Bonanza’s Ben Cartwright is number 10.

If we look at the next five television dads on the list, there is a mix of TV decades. At number 11 is Danny Tanner who had Uncle Jesse and Joey to help take care of D.J., Stephanie and Michelle on Full House. Next is a new addition to the list this year and it’s a cartoon dad, Family Guy’s Peter Griffin followed by My Three Sons’ Steve Douglas. Rounding out the top fifteen TV dads is another new addition, Roseanne’s husband, Dan Connor and then Meathead’s father-in-law, Archie Bunker of All in the Family.

With two new additions to the list since 2009, two fathers have dropped off. A cartoon dad has replaced another as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson, who was tied for number 14, has dropped out of the top 15. The list also lost a shoe salesman with the departure of Al Bundy of Married with Children this year who had been tied for number 14.

So What?

It’s interesting to note that of the top 15 television dads Americans would have wanted growing up, only one is currently on TV and he’s a cartoon character. And, even though the show has been off the air for almost 20 years, Cliff Huxtable is a top dad for almost all age groups. What most of these television fathers represent is the ability to deal with a problem in 30 minutes. And, 13 of the 15 did it on a sitcom so along with the love was a healthy dose of laughter as well. Americans love their own dads, but these dads make it look easy and fun.

                                   TABLE 1
                               FAVORITE TV DAD
    "Thinking of television fathers, who would you most like to have had
                     as a dad when you were growing up?"
                             Unprompted responses
    Base: All adults
                                        2009   2011
    Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show         1      1
    Ward Cleaver, Leave it to Beaver       2      2
    Jim Anderson, Father Knows Best        3      3
    Howard Cunningham, Happy Days          7      4
    Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith
     Show                                  4      5
    Mike Brady, The Brady Bunch            6      6
    Ozzie Nelson, The Adventures of
     Ozzie and Harriet                     5      7
    Charles Ingalls, Little House on
     the Prairie                           8      8
    Tim Taylor, Home Improvement          10      9
    Ben Cartwright, Bonanza                9     10
    Danny Tanner, Full House              11     11
    Peter Griffin, Family Guy              -     12
    Steve Douglas, My Three Sons          13     13
    Dan Connor, Roseanne                   -     14
    Archie Bunker, All in the Family      12     15

                        Fell off the list in 2011:
    Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) and Al Bundy (Married with Children)
                         were tied at 14 in 2009

                        TABLE 2
    Group               Top Two Favorite TV Dads
                          Cliff Huxtable, Howard
    Men                         Cunningham
    Women             Cliff Huxtable, Jim Anderson

    White             Cliff Huxtable, Ward Cleaver
     American         Cliff Huxtable, Jim Anderson
    Hispanic          Cliff Huxtable, Jim Anderson

    Echo Boomers
     (18-34)          Cliff Huxtable, Danny Tanner
                          Cliff Huxtable, Howard
    Gen X (35-46)               Cunningham
    Baby Boomers
     (47-65)          Cliff Huxtable, Jim Anderson
    Matures (66+)     Jim Anderson, Cliff Huxtable

    Republicans       Cliff Huxtable, Ward Cleaver
    Democrats         Cliff Huxtable, Ward Cleaver
    Independents      Cliff Huxtable, Jim Anderson
    ------------      ----------------------------


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 9 to 16, 2011 among 2,184 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.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.



The Harris Poll® #71, June 13, 2011

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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SOURCE Harris Interactive

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