Kanye West Is Building Up A Republican Fan Base

Most in the GOP still say celebrities shouldn't weigh in on politics, a new poll finds.
Kanye West said that he and the president share "dragon energy."
Kanye West said that he and the president share "dragon energy."
Andrew Kelly / Reuters

Kanye West’s latest foray into Twitter commentary may have boosted the rapper’s standing with the GOP, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll ― which also finds Americans split on whether celebrities should offer up their political views.

West is still more likely to be seen negatively than positively by members of both parties. But while Democrats are 55 percentage points more likely to view him unfavorably than they are to view him favorably, the gap among Republicans is just 9 points. That’s a new development. In a 2015 poll (yes, of course, there’s historical Kanye polling), his net negative among Democrats was 47 points, but among Republicans, it was a gaping 63 points.


Just under half of all those polled in the most recent survey were aware that West had tweeted positively about Trump. Republicans who’d heard that West praised the president hold an 18-point net favorable view of Kanye, compared to a 43-point net unfavorable view among those who hadn’t. Among Democrats who were aware, West’s ratings are a net negative 72, compared to a net negative 37 among those not following the story.

Americans are closely divided on whether celebrities should weigh in on politics, with 35 percent saying celebrities should publicly express their values and beliefs on controversial issues and 36 percent saying they should avoid publicly stating any political opinions. The rest aren’t sure.

Thirty-nine percent of Americans say there was a time when a celebrity’s position on a political issue had an effect on their own willingness to see, hear or read that celebrity’s work, while 40 percent say there wasn’t.

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats, but just 23 percent of Republicans, believe celebrities should take political stands. One likely reason for that: there’s a strong perception that most celebrities dislike the president. Less than 10 percent of Americans believe that most or all celebrities support Trump, while 44 percent say just some celebrities do and 21 percent think he has almost no celebrity support at all.

If a celebrity publicly announced support for Trump, just 16 percent of Americans say they’d think more highly of that person and 30 percent say they’d think less of the person. If a celebrity publicly stood against the president, 19 percent say they’d think more highly of the person and 25 percent say they’d think less. In both cases, the plurality say their opinion of the celebrity wouldn’t change.

Close to three-quarters of those who say they’d think less highly of a Trump-supporting celebrity say it’d be reasonable to stop following the celebrity’s work for that reason. A nearly identical share of those who’d think less highly of a Trump-opposing celebrity say that would be reason not to follow the celeb’s work.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, looking at the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted April 27-29 among U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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