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Poll: 10 percent of adults have cast ‘Idol’ votes

Simon top-rated judge, calls more likely to come from Southern states
/ Source: The Associated Press

One in 10 American adults has cast a vote this year for an "American Idol" contestant and the judge who earns the most respect is tart-tongued Simon Cowell, according to a survey.

The poll about the hit Fox TV singing contest was conducted by Pursuant Inc., a Washington-based public opinion research firm. A phone survey of 1,045 people was conducted last month and the results were released this week.

More than a third of those surveyed believe votes on "American Idol" count as much as or more than those cast in a U.S. presidential election, according to the survey.

But people still put their civic duty first. More than 60 percent of U.S. citizens over age 18 were estimated to have voted in the 2004 presidential election, compared to the 10 percent the survey found had cast votes for "American Idol."

The top-rated series typically draws more than 28 million viewers for each of its twice-weekly episodes.

Half of those who have voted for "American Idol" singers said they value the opinion of British record company executive Cowell, compared to 26 percent for music producer Randy Jackson and 6 percent for choreographer-singer Paula Abdul.

In casting their phone or text message ballots, most viewers gave the greatest weight to voice and "star quality" (a combined 76 percent), while 19 percent chose a contestant they liked and wanted to see win.

More "American Idol" viewers live in the South (39 percent) than any other region. Many top finalists and winners have been Southerners.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent for the entire sample and a larger but unspecified margin for subgroups, Pursuant said.