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Election Oops: Donald Trump, Clint Eastwood Drive Support for Obama

Donald Trump The Friars Club Honors Larry King - P 2012
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

A new THR/Penn Schoen Berland Poll finds Trump's antics more likely to drive voters to favor the president than George Clooney and Tina Fey.

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.

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Here are the celebs who make the highest percentage of voters more likely to support Democrats, in order:

Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres  (12 percent)
Donald Trump (11 percent)
George Clooney (9 percent)
Tina Fey  (8 percent)
Eva Longoria and Clint Eastwood (7 percent)
Katy Perry and Bruce Springsteen (6 percent)
Meat Loaf and Cher (4 percent)
Lena Dunham (3 percent)

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What’s striking is that Trump, Eastwood and Meat Loaf endorse GOP candidate Mitt Romney, not President Obama. Yet Eastwood, who stole the show at the Republican National Convention by ridiculing an empty chair representing Obama, actually is 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 Clooney and 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.” Eighty-five 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.

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But almost half of Romney voters -- 46 percent -- think that when Trump speaks out, he hurts the cause he’s advocating. (Fifty-seven 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:

Donald Trump
Kid Rock
Meat Loaf
Katy Perry
Cher

Like all polls, THR’s shows a divided nation Sixty-one 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:

Oprah Winfrey
George Clooney
Ellen DeGeneres
Tina Fey
Barbra Streisand

For Romney voters, the top five most-trusted are:

Clint Eastwood
Donald Trump
Oprah Winfrey
George Clooney
Ellen DeGeneres

“Republicans don’t love Oprah, but they like her, they respect her,” says Penn.

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The least-credible political celebs for Obama voters are:

Donald Trump
Kid Rock

Meat Loaf
Clint Eastwood
Katy Perry

Least credible celebs for Romney voters:

Ellen DeGeneres
Katy Perry
Cher
Eva Longoria
Tina Fey

At least Americans can agree on something: Perry’s whipped-cream-spouting brassiere clearly has cost her political credibility.

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But what about the bewildering result that Romney voters rank DeGeneres both as the No. 1 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 such as Bad Teacher and Easy A.

Or perhaps political people just aren’t up on their Hollywood celebrities. Despite the much-publicized controversy over 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 had never heard of her.