Politically opinionated celebrities definitely have power to affect elections, according to an Oct. 29 survey of likely voters by The Hollywood Reporter pollster Penn Schoen Berland. But sometimes voters do the exact opposite of what the celebrities recommend, because many voters despise celebs who talk politics.
Here are the celebs that make the highest percentage of voters more likely to support Democrats, in order:
Oprah, tied with Ellen DeGeneres (12 percent)
Donald Trump (11 percent)
George Clooney (9 percent)
Tina Fey (8 percent)
Eva Longoria, tied with Clint Eastwood (7 percent)
Katy Perry, tied with Bruce Springsteen (6 percent)
Meat Loaf, tied with Cher (4 percent)
Lena Dunham (3 percent)
What’s striking is that Trump, Eastwood, and Meat Loaf endorse Romney, not Obama. Yet Eastwood, who stole the show at the Republican convention by ridiculing an empty chair representing Obama, is actually more effective at getting people to vote for Obama than the pro-Obama Springsteen is. And Trump is better at driving voters to the Democrats than Obama stalwarts George Clooney and Tina Fey are.
“Donald Trump is in a league of his own when it comes to rallying the other side,” says Penn Schoen Berland pollster Jon J. Penn. “He actually makes Democrats more likely to support Democrats. And Republicans think he hurts their cause.” 85 percent of Romney voters agree that Trump has the right to say whatever he wants, and they rate him the second-most credible/trustworthy celebrity among the 15 listed on the poll, after Eastwood.
But almost half of Romney voters – 46 percent -- think that when Trump speaks out, he hurts the cause he’s advocating. (57 percent of Obama voters agree.) Among all voters polled, 77 percent think Trump is just trying to get attention by talking politics.
The five least-credible political celebs among all voters are:
Like all polls, THR’s shows a divided nation. 61 percent of Obama voters think the polarizing shock comic Sarah Silverman helps her cause when she speaks out on an issue; 65 percent of Romney voters believe she hurts her cause. Barbra Streisand makes 5 percent of voters overall more likely to support Democrats, but 7 percent more likely to support Republicans. Should she do Obama a statistical favor and stop supporting him in public? Not necessarily: she is the fifth-most trusted celeb among Democrats.
Here are the top five most politically credible celebs for Obama voters, in order:
For Romney voters, the top five most-trusted are:
“Republicans don’t love Oprah, but they like her, they respect her,” says Penn.
The least-credible political celebs for Obama voters are:
Kid Rock (tied with Meat Loaf)
Least credible celebs for Romney voters:
At least Americans can agree on something: Katy Perry’s whipping-cream-spouting brassiere has clearly cost her political credibility.
But what about the bewildering result that Romney voters rank DeGeneres both as the number-one least-credible celeb (with a 30 percent vote against her) and the fifth-most-credible celeb (with a 13 percent vote for her)? Perhaps the 13 percent of Romney voters who thought her credible disagreed with her but respected her outspokenness, like Oprah’s. Or maybe they liked her performance in the animated hit Finding Nemo – a 2011 THR poll found that Republicans prefer family films, while Democrats like edgy films like Bad Teacher and Easy A.
Or perhaps political people just aren’t up on their Hollywood celebrities. Despite the much-publicized controversy over Lena Dunham’s suggestive pro-Obama ad aimed at young women (“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anyone”), a full 30 percent of voters (and 29 percent of Obama voters) said they never heard of her.