Even after significant media coverage of Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant while being arrested for drunk driving, nearly half of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Hollywood star, and most say the incident will not make a difference when they’re deciding whether to go see his movies.
The latest FOX News poll finds that 6 percent of Americans say they "definitely" will not go to see Gibson’s movies in the future and another 10 percent say they "probably" won’t go, while eight out of 10 people say his arrest and negative comments about Jewish people will not make a difference to them.
Men (83 percent) are slightly more likely than women (77 percent), and Republicans (83 percent) are a bit more likely than Democrats (75 percent) to say the incident will not make a difference in their decision to see Gibson’s movies.
People living in the Northeast (10 percent) are three times as likely as those in the West (3 percent) to say they "definitely" won’t go to his movies in the future.
Half of Americans say the worst part of the whole episode was that Gibson was driving while drunk, 16 percent say it was that he made anti-Semitic comments and 3 percent that he was belligerent with the police officers who stopped him. One in five people (22 percent) say all aspects of the incident were equally bad.
Overall, many more people view Gibson favorably (48 percent) than unfavorably (28 percent). For comparison, that puts him ahead of President Bush (39 percent favorable, 56 percent unfavorable) and behind British Prime Minister Tony Blair (56 percent favorable, 17 percent unfavorable).
And despite the amount of news coverage the event received, most people say they aren’t paying that much attention to the story: 12 percent say they are following it "very closely," 30 percent "somewhat" closely and 57 percent "not very" or "not at all" closely.
Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from August 8 to August 9. The poll has a 3-point error margin.