Actors' Political Views a Factor for Moviegoers, Study Finds

In this April 25, 2011 file photo, actor Morgan Freeman poses for a portrait in Los Angeles.

In this April 25, 2011 file photo, actor Morgan Freeman poses for a portrait in Los Angeles.  (AP2011)

Hollywood stars and starlets might want to think twice before spouting their political beliefs in public. 

A new study shows viewers often take into account celebrities' political ideology before going to see their films. According to an analysis by Penn Schoen Berland conducted for The Hollywood Reporter, Republicans -- and especially Tea Partiers -- are more likely to sit out a movie for political reasons. 

But both Republicans and Democrats pick films in part based on politics, the study suggests. In a recent case, viewers were split along party lines about Morgan Freeman's new film Dolphin Tale after he made critical remarks about the Tea Party in an interview. 

According to the study, 37 percent of Tea Partiers said they were less likely to see the family-friendly movie about an injured dolphin in light of the comments, while 42 percent of liberal viewers claimed they were more likely. 

In general, the study showed 35 percent of Republicans, versus 20 percent of Democrats, factor in a movie star's political stance before heading to the theaters. 

Forty-five percent of Tea Party-aligned viewers do the same. And asked whether they've ever sat out a movie because of political views, a whopping 58 percent of Tea Partiers answered yes -- compared with 52 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats. 

As for which stars are likely to turn viewers off, the study found documentary filmmaker Michael Moore topped the list among Republicans -- followed by Jane Fonda and Whoopi Goldberg

Among Democrats, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Cruise also ranked high in the "avoid" category.