Tom Hanks has increasingly strayed from his apolitical public persona, but it hasn’t hurt his appeal with the movie going public. Yet.
Hanks came in first place as the country’s “best-liked movie star” according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling. Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood came in right behind Hanks. Meryl Streep placed as the highest scoring actress in the poll, followed by Halle Berry.
Hanks rarely made a public misstep in the early stages of his film career, but in recent years he embraced a more political posture. He produced the outrageous HBO hit piece Game Change, accused American soldiers of racism for fighting against the Japanese in World War II and publicly backed Barack Obama.
Embracing The Da Vinci Code franchise didn’t help him with Christian movie goers.
Those decisions haven’t changed the affection audiences have for Hanks, according to the poll, although his box office figures have been anemic of late (Cloud Atlas, Larry Crowne, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close).
Politics did play a role in aspects of the group’s polling, particularly with extremely ideological talents like Alec Baldwin and Jane Fonda.
Democrats gave higher favorability ratings to nearly all actors, but Republicans liked Clint Eastwood more than Democrats, perhaps connected to his role in the Republican National Convention last fall. 41% of both Democrats and Republicans liked Schwarzenegger. Stars with marked partisan splits included Tom Cruise (D 47-30, R 33-44), Alec Baldwin (D 49-25, R 26-49), Sean Penn (D 57-14, R 24-50), Jane Fonda (D 60-22, R 20-59), and director Quentin Tarantino (D 44-17, R 23-26). Most others enjoyed bipartisan favorable ratings.