Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently lost support among his Maricopa County constituents amid a high-profile attempt to prove that President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate is a forgery, a new poll finds.
According to the poll commissioned by Citizens for a Better Arizona, a group helmed by progressive activist Randy Parraz, a well-known Arpaio critic, the sheriff's favorability rating now stands at 53 percent.
While that is by no means a dismal number, the telephone poll of 600 likely voters showed that about 65 percent of respondents disapproved of Arpaio's birther investigation, and around 50 percent said he did a poor job of keeping politics out of his office's dealings.
Arpaio's office quickly dismissed the survey's results, questioning the source.
"Of course he would put together a poll that would place the sheriff in a bad light," Chad Willems, Arpaio's campaign consultant told the Arizona Republic.
Last month, Arpaio basked in the limelight as he and Mike Zullo, the lead investigator of his "Cold Case Posse," held a press conference to claim that they now had clear evidence that Obama's birth certificate was fraudulent.
Their details did little to convince anybody that the allegation was true, but it increasingly seems that this doesn't concern Arpaio.
A recent Rolling Stone profile of Arpaio documents the sheriff's long history of catering to the far-right extremes -- birthers and nativists often fit this bill -- in order to draw campaign donations and support from outside the state. As long as the spotlight has remained on him, Arpaio says, the controversy hasn't hurt him.
"If things go right," Arpaio told the magazine, the birther investigation "should take us into the White House."