Superman is more popular among Democrats, Batman among Republicans, but only 3 in 10 Americans of all political standings are interested in comic books.
Last week, the new superhero/fantasy film Thor: A Dark World, earned $86 million during its first weekend in theaters. Superhero movies tend to do quite well at box offices both here and abroad, with the majority of these starting out as comic strips. The last few years have brought global audiences remakes of X-Men, Superman, Spiderman, and Batman, all movies that have netted many millions of dollars and show the extent to which these superhero films have become a financial pillar for the industry.
The latest YouGov research shows that some comic book characters have different political constituencies, with popularity varying between Republicans and Democrats. YouGov asked people who their favorite comic book characters were without prompts, encouraging a wide variety of answers. Though many (47%) didn't know, or didn't have one favorite in particular, the top five characters overall were Archie, Batman, Spiderman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Superman was almost twice as popular with Democrats than with Independents and Republicans, while Batman was slightly more popular with Republicans. Archie was most popular among Independents.
While almost half of Americans don't have a favorite comic book character, Superman is the most popular comic book character of those who do have an opinion. About 1 in 10 people call him their favorite, while Archie and Batman tie for second place. Batman is more popular with younger audiences (under 45), while Superman and Archie are more popular with older audiences (over 45).
Democrats and Independents are more interested in reading comic books, with Democrats being twice as likely to be interested in comic books than Republicans.
65% of all Americans have read a comic book at some point, and though it seems Democrats are more interested in comic books, a higher percentage of Independents and Republicans have actually read a comic book. Men are also 12% more likely to have read a comic book than women.
Though only 36% of Americans say they are interested in comic books, the influence of comics on contemporary culture and movies expands past their paper origins. X-Men: Days of Future Past is one of the most anticipated movies of 2014 with an all star cast, based on an 1981 comic produced by Marvel under the same title.
Information from YouGov's Opigram system shows that despite the partisan differences in this poll, the favorite public figure of fans of Superman's first film (1978) is noted conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Fans of Batman's 2008 film 'The Dark Knight' were also correlated with the famed non-violent leader of India's independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi, which is somewhat ironic given the highly aestheticized violence of the latest three Batman movies.
Full poll results can be found here.