A new poll from The Associated Press and AOL News has discovered that Americans are torn in terms of their perception of President George W. Bush and his performance in 2006. When asked to name the past year's biggest villain, Bush was far and away the #1 choice, commanding 25% of the vote, distantly trailed by Osama Bin Laden (8%), Saddam Hussein (6%), President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran (5%), North Korean leader Kim Jong II (2%) and Donald Rumsfeld (2%). Satan only took in 1% of the vote, as did Hugo Chavez, Tom Cruise, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Rosie O'Donnell, among others.
On the flipside, Bush also claimed the top spot when Americans were asked to name the year's biggest hero, but with only a trifling 13% of the vote. The troops in Iraq came in second (6%), followed by Jesus Christ (3%), Barack Obama (3%), Oprah Winfrey (3%), and rock star/philanthropist Bono (2%). Other "do-gooders" of 2006, receiving 1% each, included luminaries, business leaders and politicos such as Warren Buffett, George Clooney, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Billy Graham, Angelina Jolie, Colin Powell, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Condoleeza Rice.
When it came to preferences by political affiliation, Democrats were much more aligned with their party line than Republicans. Bush was the choice of 43% of Democrats for villain of the year, a more impressive showing than the 27% of Republicans who chose Bush as their hero.
In contrast to Americans' outlook on George W. Bush in 2006, they were much clearer about who to celebrate and who to "love to hate" when it comes to celebrities.
Oprah Winfrey was selected the best celebrity role model of the year, garnering 29% of the vote. Michael J. Fox came in a close second with 23%, followed by George Clooney (12%) and Angelina Jolie (8%).
Pop singer and gossip fodder favorite Britney Spears has the dubious honor of being named the year's worst celebrity role model, with 29% citing her as a bad example. Her paparazzi-hounded pal Paris Hilton came in second (18%), followed by a notorious "who's who" including Mel Gibson (12%), Tom Cruise (9%), Michael Richards (6%) and Nicole Richie (5%).
The AP-AOL poll of 1,004 adults was conducted by telephone December 19-21, 2006 by Ipsos, an international public opinion research company. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for all adults.
About The Associated Press
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