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Magazine / Political Insiders Poll

How National Journal's Political Insiders Rate the Celebrities

April 28, 2011

Which three celebrities are the most effective campaigners for Democratic/Republican candidates?

DEMOCRATS (101 votes) / REPUBLICANS (99 votes)

Oprah Winfrey: 84.2% (Democrat)

Bruce Springsteen: 77.2% (Democrat)


Jon Stewart: 49.5% (Democrat)

Sheryl Crow: 17.8% (Democrat)

Jay-Z: 14.9% (Democrat)

Matt Damon: 10.9% (Democrat)

Ben Affleck: 9.9% (Democrat)

Susan Sarandon: 7.9% (Democrat)

John Legend: 5.9% (Democrat)

None: 3.0% (Democrat) / 8.1% (Republican)

Chuck Norris: 45.5% (Republican)

Gary Sinise: 43.4% (Republican)

Toby Keith: 37.4% (Republican)

Lee Greenwood: 27.3% (Republican)

Bo Derek: 25.3% (Republican)

Hank Williams Jr.: 24.2% (Republican)

Jon Voight: 20.2% (Republican)

Kelsey Grammer: 20.2% (Republican)

John Rich: 7.1% (Republican)

Charlton Heston: 1.0% (Republican)



Winfrey: “Even if I’ve only ever seen her involved in one campaign, she delivered for Obama.”

Winfrey: “Brings women and credibility; she is a verifier.”

Springsteen: “Idol for boomers and very passionate.”

Springsteen: “Blue-collar rocker does not come across as blindly partisan.”

Stewart: “Captures angst and cynicism of a generation of young voters.”

Stewart: “Put a million people on the Mall; he should run for president.”

Crow: “Damn, she is hot: Music sells fundraising tickets.”

Jay-Z: “Great for getting young voters of all races to the polls.”

Damon: “Is such a magnet that everyone wants their pic taken with him.”

Norris: “Draws a crowd, creates a buzz.”

Norris: “Needs his own Chuck Norris to handle GOP requests for his time.”

Sinise: “His care and concern for veterans is real and long-standing.”

Sinise: “He’s the only one recognizable to anyone under 30!”

Keith: “Iconic songs, wry observations.”

Greenwood: “All he needs to do is sing that patriotic song.”

Derek: “There are still ‘men of a certain age’ who remember that poster.”

Williams: “He does not do much, but he is still the man.”

Voight: “Campaigned for McCain and appeared to know more about the issues than his candidate.”

Grammer: “Great on the fundraising circuit and has depth and understanding of policy issues.”


Which three celebrities are the most effective in advocating for causes in Washington?

DEMOCRATS (100 votes) / REPUBLICANS (98 votes)

AIDS; African development: 83.8%

Michael J. Fox
Stem-cell and other medical research: 76.8%

George Clooney
Darfur: 41.9%

Angelina Jolie
Refugees: 30.3%

Tom Hanks
Environment: 14.1%

Others receiving votes: Don Cheadle (Darfur), 7.1%; Matt Damon (clean water), 6.6%; none (volunteered), 4.5%; Sean Penn (Haiti), 3.0%; Ben Affleck (Democratic Republic of Congo), 2.0%; Wyclef Jean (Haiti), 1.5%; Lance Armstrong (cancer, volunteered), 0.5%;  Lady Gaga (DADT, volunteered), 0.5%.


Bono: “Anyone who could make Jesse Helms cry and then attend a U2 concert is an effective lobbyist.”

Bono: “Seen as substantively serious, in it for the long haul, and above U.S. partisan politics.”

Bono: “He literally put Africa on the map for a generation of D’s and R’s.”

Bono: “Had breakfast with him to discuss AIDS once; my best day in D.C.”

Fox: “Personal struggle makes him more than a mere celebrity on an issue.”

Fox: “Perceived as a good guy fighting a courageous fight.”

Fox: “Unlike the others, he is advocating for an issue that affects him personally and profoundly. It is moving.”

Fox and Wyclef Jean: “They have authenticity.”

Clooney: “He’s kept Darfur in front of policymakers.”

Clooney: “Sticking up for [Sam] Brownback [and conservatives] on Bill Maher’s show won him a lot of admirers. He’s about the work.”

Clooney and Cheadle: “Their sincerity and hard work preceded their testimony. Their continued efforts in the region have been impressive.”

Clooney and Damon: “Have spent the time on their respective issues regardless of whether the cameras are present.”

Jolie: “She appears to be living her commitment, and it’s not an easy commitment to live. This gives her appeals authority.”

Jolie: “Hard not to pay attention to her.”

Hanks: “He has that regular-guy, Gregory-Peck thing going for him.”

Penn: “Is a rising star because he’s done the grunt work.”

Affleck: “Very savvy to team up with Cindy McCain, and demonstrates that he understands D.C. better than most Hollywood types.”


Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek. 

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