WASHINGTON -- Fans of "Family Guy" from all walks of life and across the political spectrum want the liberal-leaning family dog Brian brought to back life, according to a new Huffington Post/YouGov poll released Tuesday -- except for a "very liberal" handful who approve of the pet's demise.
The 12-season-old show on Fox killed off the Prius-driving pup the week before Thanksgiving, setting off a storm of protest online. A petition demanding that Brian be resurrected on Change.org had attracted more than 75,000 signers as of Monday and an associated Facebook page had 777,000 likes.
Americans generally are not pleased, but people who have watched the show are especially upset, with 58 percent of "Family Guy" viewers saying they either strongly disapprove (38 percent) or somewhat disapprove (20 percent) of the decision by the show's creators to have Brian run down by a luxury sport sedan, according to the poll. A similar 58 percent said they want to see Brian star in his own canine revival.
Younger people were much more familiar with the show (85 percent had watched it) than older people (15 percent over 65 had seen it), and more Democrats and independents (60 percent) had seen the show than Republicans (45 percent).
Surprisingly, though Brian drove an eco-friendly car, campaigned for gay rights and marijuana legalization and was sometimes described as the liberal voice of reason on the show, the group that most approved of his demise consisted of people who called themselves "very liberal." A total of 18 percent of the very liberal approved of the show killing the dog, with 13 percent of that group saying they "strongly approve." No respondents who called themselves "liberal" said they strongly approved, and just 5 percent said they somewhat approved. (The survey didn't ask why people held their views, so it's unclear what the motivations behind the responses may have been.)
As for whether or not respondents wanted to see the hooch-swilling pooch returned from his bar stool in the sky, it was the people on the other end of the spectrum -- who called themselves "very conservative" -- who least wanted to see Brian return. Just 24 percent said they wanted the dog fetched from the grave, while 12 percent wanted him to stay down.
For the very liberal, 30 percent wanted a mutt miracle for Brian's return, compared to 16 percent who did not. Others were vastly more likely to want to Brian back, with liberals (43 percent to 5 percent), moderates (44 percent to 11 percent) and conservatives (32 percent to 18 percent) backing Brian's comeback.
By party affiliation, Republicans wished for Brian's resurrection the least, with 31 percent in favor of bringing him back and 16 percent opposed. Democrats supported Brian's return by 41 percent to 12 percent, and independent support broke down 40 percent to 11 percent.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 1 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.
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