Day By Day

Monday, February 28, 2005

Oscar and the Polls

Zogby polling reports:

The survey finds that 25% of American adults plan to watch the annual awards show, while nearly two-thirds (63%) say they do not plan to. Another one-in-eight (12%) have not decided whether they will watch the Oscars or not. Oscar-viewing habits do have a lot to do with where a respondent lives, and where they line up politically. While four-in-ten (39%) Democrats say they will watch the Oscars, this drops to one-in-eight (13%) among Republicans. Unsurprisingly, political independents split the difference, with 22% planning to view the awards show.


A racial divide has appeared in this year's awards viewership as well, with 39% of African Americans saying they will watch the program and 23% of whites saying the same—at a time when African American Rock is poised to host, and only three years after Halle Berry and Denzel Washington made history as the first African Americans to win Oscars for best actor and actress. There is also an urban-rural divide, with nearly one-third (31%) of residents of large cities planning to watch Sunday night's program, while half as many rural residents (15%) say the same.

The poll asked other questions such as which actors should run for office, who were the best presenters, etc. In each case political and racial divisions were marked. I suspect that there would have been equally true if they had segmented the survey by gender, age group, or sexual preference. It is interesting that Zogby and/or the reporter, chose to report only race, political affiliation, and residential differences.

Read the whole thing here.

All that this shows, of course, is that we are a large and diverse nation in which different people have different tastes. This is something to keep in mind when commentators, as they often do, try to use movies or any form of popular entertainment to illustrate the mind of America. Even the most popular movies are only seen by a relatively small segment of the American population and are ignored by most people. Movies themselves, indeed entire genres, are aimed at specific target audiences and are not intended to be seen by most people. That is why it is always dangerous to generalize from films to the general culture, and why such generalizations should always be taken with several shakers of salt. That won't stop journalists from making such assertions, though.

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