Editor’s note: This is another in a series of WND/WENZEL POLLS conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
The vast majority of Americans are in agreement that Hollywood and network television are harming the nation’s culture, according to a new survey, which also reveals they don’t think celebrities should be “tweeting” information in criminal cases, such as Florida shooting case defendant George Zimmerman’s address.
The scientific poll conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media-consulting company Wenzel Strategies shows almost three-in-four registered voters believe the media are responsible for dragging the nation’s culture down.
The poll revealed nearly 50 percent said Hollywood and network TV have done a “great deal” of harm, while another 24 percent day there has resulted “a little” harm.”
The results are from the national telephone poll, conducted April 9-12 with a margin of error of 3.42 percent.
The questions were asked in connection to the media coverage of, and celebrity involvement in, the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. Respondents also said they strongly disagreed with the practice of celebrities using the social media outlet Twitter to send the address of Zimmerman, the neighborhood-watch participant accused of murder in the case, to followers.
And some 70 percent said they disagreed with the suggestion the “average Hollywood celebrity” understands the lifestyles and values of average Americans.
Further, Americans have no exalted opinion of Hollywood’s elite, with more than half the respondents saying celebrities are of the same intellect as the rest of the nation, and a whopping 4 in 10 saying they are a “little less” or “much less” smart.
“Hollywood appears to come out the big loser in the media wars over the Trayvon Martin case, as respondents were brutal in their assessment of celebrities who used the case to send Twitter messages including the addresses – or what they thought were the correct addresses – of the shooting and his family,” said Fritz Wenzel, chief of Wenzel Strategies.
“Fully 78 percent of those surveyed said they ‘strongly disagreed’ with such practices by Hollywood types, while another 6 percent said they ‘somewhat disagreed,’” wrote Wenzel. “Just 14 percent said they thought it was appropriate for them to inject themselves into such a case.”
He said that may result from the “disconnect” that many Americans feel from “left coast celebrities.”
“The survey showed that just 23 percent felt that the average Hollywood celebrity understands the lifestyles and values of the average American, while 69 percent said they don’ think these Hollywood types even have a clue,” Wenzel said, “Interestingly, even half of Democrats and 65 percent of self-identified liberals said as much, as did 76 percent of political independents. No wonder the movie business is in the tank these days.”
He continued, “Among respondents, 56 percent said they felt the average Hollywood celebrity was about equally as smart as the average American adult, but for every one who said they believe Hollywood types were smarter than average, nearly 8 said they were more stupid.
“This disdain for Hollywood may well stem from how Americans perceive Hollywood’s impact on the nation’s culture. Asked whether Hollywood and network television had helped or harmed the culture, 74 percent said it had caused harm, while just 18 percent said it had improved the culture. Another 8 percent said it had had no impact at all on the culture.”
Perhaps as expected, the biggest group to suggest Hollywood celebrities could understand an average life was among the “liberal,” where 14.5 percent strongly agreed with the idea. At the same time, only 1.2 percent of the “very conservative” held that view.
Even among the 20s and younger crowd, nearly 70 percent strongly disagreed with the concept celebrities could understand an ordinary life.
Among the political persuasions on the topic of the intellect of celebrities, 0 percent of the very conservative thought they were much smarter than average. Among the conservatives, that was 0.9 percent. The moderates were at 0.6 percent, liberals at 0.7 percent and very liberal at 1 percent.
At the other end of the scale, 16.5 percent of the very liberal said celebrities were much less smart, 15.2 percent of the liberals agreed, as did 6.9 percent of the moderates. For the conservatives, the figure was 17.2 percent and for the very conservative, it was 24.5 percent.
An overwhelming 92 percent of the very conservative said Hollywood has harmed American culture, and they were joined by 86 percent of the conservatives and 65 percent of moderates. Even among the liberal, that opinion was held by 57 percent and 50 percent of the very liberal.
See detailed results of survey questions:
Certain celebrities have used the social media outlet Twitter to send the addresses of George Zimmerman and his parents to hundreds of thousands of followers. The implication was that people should go to the address and confront Zimmerman and his parents. Do you agree or disagree that this is a proper thing for celebrities to do?
Thinking again about the intellect of the average Hollywood celebrity, do you think they are much smarter, a little smarter, equally smart, a little less smart, or much less smart than the average American adult?
Thinking now about the impact that Hollywood and network television has had on the American culture, do you think it has vastly improved it, improved it a little, harmed it a little, caused a great deal of harm to it, or has it had no impact on the American culture?