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Somebody did the polling, and Joe Exotic is officially more popular than Carole Baskin

Nick Duffy April 13, 2020
Tiger King: Joe Exotic is more popular than Carole Baskin, polling finds

Joe Exotic is more popular than Carole Baskin, and the metaphor writes itself

In news that perhaps explains a lot about America, Tiger King star Joe Exotic is officially more popular than Carole Baskin.

The Hollywood Reporter took Tiger King mania to its natural conclusion and paid actual, real-life polling firm Morning Consult to conduct a poll of 484 US adults who had watched “some or all of” the Netflix show.

Viewers were polled on whether they had a favourable opinion, unfavourable opinion or no opinion about a range of people featured in Tiger King, and the results are illuminating.

Half of Tiger King viewers hold a favourable view of Joe Exotic.

The pollsters found that 47 per cent of people hold a favourable opinion about Joe Exotic, who, just in case you’ve forgotten, is currently serving out a 22-year sentence in federal prison for a murder-for-hire plot, eight counts of falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act for animal abuse.

Only 40 per cent of people hold an unfavourable opinion of Joe Exotic, giving him an overall net favourability rating of +7 among viewers of the show.

By contrast, Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin came out of Tiger King with the lowest availability rating of anyone on the show, with just 27 per cent of people holding favourable opinions of her, and 59 per cent holding unfavourable ones – a net approval of -32.

Her rating is below even those of Jeff Lowe and ‘Doc’ Antle, two of the more shady characters on the series, who have respective net favourability ratings of -7 and -14.

Gay Libertarian activist Joshua Dial, who oversaw Joe Exotic’s bid for president and witnessed the horrific death of his husband Travis Maldonado, is the person who came out of the poll with technically the highest net favourability rating at +9 – though 38 per cent of people took the very Libertarian stance of having no opinion about him whatsoever.

It’s worth noting that Saff, the kind-hearted tiger keeper who lost their hand in a horrific accident, was not included in the poll.

Responding on Twitter, one fan complained: “This is Saff erasure.”

People are comparing the Joe Exotic-Carole Baskin result to the 2016 presidential election.

Others saw parallels between the polling and politics.

One Twitter user quipped: “The fact that Joe Exotic is net favourable – by a not unsubstantial margin – explains Donald Trump better than any other data I’ve ever encountered.”

Another added: “Weird how false equivalence always ends up with people hating women far more than men.”

Joe Exotic: Carole Baskin was the least popular person of everyone on the series, including that guy who has a sex cult
Carole Baskin was the least popular person of everyone on the series, including that guy who has a sex cult

Meanwhile, columnist Sady Doyle reflected: “Is this the documentary crew’s failing, or is it just that we live in a society that hates women? Joe Exotic is presented as an unremittingly stupid, selfish person with a habit of knowingly or unknowingly killing and maiming everyone he knows. Carole… wears flower crowns.

“I’m willing to entertain ‘it’s the crew’s fault’. There’s a LOT of information excluded from the story they told – Joe’s racism, Saff’s gender, the evidence that Carole didn’t, you know, feed a man to tigers – but it still seems hard to hate Carole unless you already want to.”

Joe Exotic’s ratings are higher than both Donald Trump’s net favourability rating of -8.3, and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s net favourability rating of 0.

More: Carole Baskin, Joe Exotic, netflix, Tiger King

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