Thomas J. Whitmore is Most Popular Fictional President in U.S.

Three-in-five likely voters would vote for the character played by Bill Pullman in the movie “Independence Day”.

Vancouver, BC [September 16, 2020] – Three fictional presidents could count on the support of more than half of voters in the United States if they were actually running for office, a new Research Co. poll has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample asked American likely voters whether they would cast a ballot for seven different fictional presidents that have appeared in movies and television series.

Three-in-five respondents (61%) say they would “definitely” or “probably” vote for Thomas J. Whitmore (as played by Bill Pullman in the movie “Independence Day”) if he was actually running for office.

“Support for Whitmore is extraordinary across the political spectrum,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “In this survey, 64% of Democrats, 60% of Independents and 56% of Republicans would vote for Whitmore.”

Two other presidents could count on the support of half of likely voters in an election: Andrew Shepherd (as played by Michael Douglas in the movie “The American President”) (56%) and Jed Bartlett (as played by Martin Sheen in the TV series “The West Wing”) (52%).

Shepherd and Bartlett—who are both portrayed as representing the Democratic Party—are particularly popular with American likely voters who identify as Democrats (62% for each fictional president). 

The proportion of would-be voters across the United States is slightly lower for David Palmer (as played by Dennis Haysbert in the TV series “24”) (48%), Dave Kovic (as played by Kevin Kline in the movie “Dave”) (44%) and Selina Meyer (as played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the TV Series “Veep”) (40%).

Francis Underwood (as played by Kevin Spacey in the TV series “House of Cards”) could count on the support of a third of likely voters in the United States (34%).

Palmer and Kovic are particularly popular with women (54% and 52% respectively). In addition, while 48% of female likely voters would cast a ballot for Meyer, only 34% of men would join them. 

Underwood has his best numbers among likely voters aged 18-to-34 (51%) but drops slightly to 44% among those aged 35-to-54. Only 13% of American likely voters aged 55 and over would consider casting a ballot for Underwood in a presidential election.

The most popular fictional presidents for White likely voters in the United States are Whitmore (59%) and Shepherd (55%). The top two is identical among likely voters of Hispanic and Latino descent (Whitmore 70%, Shepherd 63%), while African American voters choose Whitmore (61%) and Palmer (57%).

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 4 to September 6, 2020, among 1,200 American adults.  The data has been statistically weighted according to U.S. census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.8 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.