Last week, right-wing commentators allied with Donald Trump launched a “holy war” against Taylor Swift. The deluge of conspiracy theories surrounding Swift – including that she is a government operative secretly helping Joe Biden – could have easily eroded her popularity among Republicans. After all, partisans’ opinions typically follow messages from prominent party members.
But new data shows that this hasn’t happened, at least yet. Swift will head into the Super Bowl weekend with her public standing intact, even among Republicans.
Before the attacks, Swift had rare bipartisan support
“How Taylor Swift transcends America’s political divides — barely.” That was the headline from a November 2023 NBC News survey, which found that the pop superstar was the rare public figure rated positively by both Democrats and Republicans.
The same was true in YouGov’s 2023 polling. Despite endorsing Joe Biden for president in 2020, Swift was rated favorably by 51% of Republicans in polls in August and October. Only 40% and 31% of Republicans rated her unfavorably. A plurality of Republican respondents in a December 2023 YouGov Poll even approved of her being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
To be sure, Swift was still more popular among Democrats in those surveys, with nearly three-quarters rating her favorably. But Democrats like almost all modern pop stars more than Republicans do. And Taylor Swift stands out from other pop stars in how popular she is among Republicans, according to a March 2023 Morning Consult Survey.
Only Bruno Mars and Adele were more popular among Republicans than Swift was. And the partisan divide in Swift fandom was not particularly pronounced. Democrats and Republicans were significantly more divided over Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Lizzo, Rhianna, Sam Smith, Harry Styles, and Billie Eilish.
Swift’s popularity hasn’t dropped
Despite the so-called “MAGA meltdown” over Swift, a new February 4-6 YouGov-Economist Poll shows that she is still pretty popular among Republicans. In fact, she had the same 51% GOP favorability rating in that survey that she had in both August and October (although the percent of Republicans with an unfavorable view ticked up to 43%).
One plausible reason why the right-wing attacks have not affected Swift’s popularity is that these messages have not yet been received by the majority of Americans who don’t pay that much attention to politics. This could change if her opposition to Trump becomes especially salient during the general election campaign.
But for now, the conservative attacks on Taylor Swift simply don’t match how most rank-and-file Republicans feel about her.