Pop & Politics contributor Judy Kurtz is the "In the Know" columnist for The Hill
The cultural divide in this country runs deeper than mere politics—which party you belong to may also help predict which Hollywood stars you love.
While Democrats are more likely to dig celebrities such as John Oliver, Taraji P. Henson and Tina Fey, Republicans get a kick out of Andrew Lincoln, Clint Eastwood and Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson, according to a new study from E-Poll Market Research.
The poll by the media research company shows that Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes on AMC's zombie-apocalypse thriller The Walking Dead, is a favorite among Republicans, with 53 percent indicating they like the actor "a lot."
Eastwood, is also tops among the GOP crowd, with a 48 percent approval rating. Dirty Harry himself is no stranger to the right, of course—the 85-year-old Oscar winner did deliver his infamous "empty chair speech" at the 2012 Republican National Convention after all.
Stars such as Eastwood making the cut among the GOP faithful doesn't surprise Kathryn Cramer Brownell, author of Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life.
"On the Republican side, seeing Clint Eastwood and [fellow poll favorite] Harrison Ford there, that reflects some of the ideas and the imagery they put forward in terms of masculinity and toughness that has also been cultivated by the Republican Party," she says.
Brownell, an assistant professor of history at Purdue University, says she's also not taken aback by the favored actors among Democrats. Oliver, host of HBO's Last Week Tonight, tops the list of entertainers adored by liberals with 61 percent of the vote, with Empire's Henson at 55 percent and Saturday Night Live alum Fey rounding out the top three with 54 percent. Fey's devastating impression of former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin won raves in 2008 and was easily one of the best bits of the night when she co-hosted SNL with Amy Poehler just last month.
"Oliver and Tina Fey, especially, that does not surprise me," says Brownell, "because they have really been at the forefront of late-night entertainment programming in criticism of the Republican Party and conservatives more generally."
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Still other Hollywood A-listers, such as Sandra Bullock, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks and Betty White, appealed to both sides of the aisle, scoring well across the political spectrum with Democrats and Republicans alike.
"Not sure which came first, the types of roles they select for themselves, or how the roles shape the viewers' perception of them, but certainly some celebrities embody more of a blue- or red-character type," E-Poll Market Research president and CEO Gerry Philpott tells E! News. "However, the broad appeal displayed by these top celebrities demonstrates their ability to entertain across all political and social lines."
"It can be controversial and [celebrities] can experience a backlash against getting involved in politics, so overwhelmingly they historically have gotten involved when they feel really compelled to act," notes Brownell.
The author says it'll be fascinating to see how research, such as E-Poll's study, "is integrated into the campaign strategy of either the Republican or Democratic party" as the 2016 presidential race heats up.
"When you're looking for the presidential nominations, it's always a boost to have a well-known person endorse your candidacy and especially at this part, they can help raise money on the primary trail, which is really important for fundraisers," says Brownell.
"So I would guess that the parties and the individual candidates have already researched what type of alliances perhaps they can form with entertainers."
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