Voters still like Clint Eastwood

Dylan Stableford
The Ticket

Clint Eastwood's bizarre speech at the Republican National Convention last week didn't go over so well with voters in Florida and North Carolina, but it didn't hurt his overall image, a pair of new polls show.

According to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, 41 percent of Floridians said they had a negative opinion of Eastwood's 12-minute improvised riff, which featured the 82-year-old Academy Award-winning actor and director pretending to have a conversation with an invisible President Obama, represented by an empty chair. In North Carolina, 44 percent of voters found Eastwood's speech to be in poor taste. (Thirty-six percent of voters in both Florida and North Carolina said they had a favorable opinion of Eastwood's stunt.)

But those same voters also said they nonetheless a favorable opinion of Eastwood. In Florida, 72 percent had a favorable opinion of Eastwood compared to 11 percent with a negative one. (That includes a majority of Democrats; 58 percent had a favorable opinion of him, while 20 percent negative.) In North Carolina, 71 percent had a favorable overall opinion of Eastwood, compared to 14 percent negative.

"Those are certainly numbers any politician would die for," PPP said.

[Related: Obama: 'I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan']

The results appear to mirror the president's own reaction to Eastwood. In an interview with USA Today published Sunday, Obama shrugged off the actor's RNC performance, declaring: "I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan."

"He is a great actor, and an even better director," the president told the paper aboard Air Force One on Saturday. "I think the last few movies that he's made have been terrific."

The president said he was not offended by Eastwood, either.

"One thing about being president or running for president--if you're easily offended, you should probably choose another profession," Obama said.

[Also read: In defense of Clint Eastwood: He was weird, but fantastic]

The same North Carolina survey shows the presidential race in a dead heat in North Carolina heading into the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, with President Obama and Mitt Romney tied at 48 percent.