Half say celebrities don't aid causes they promote: poll

Producer Oprah Winfrey (R) smiles to cast member and director of the movie Denzel Washington at the premiere of "The Great Debaters" at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California in this December 11, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Fifty-one percent of Americans say celebrities make little or no positive difference to the issues they promote while 45 percent say they have a large or some positive influence, according to a new survey.

Oprah Winfrey was seen as the best champion of causes with 49 percent of those surveyed in the Harris Poll saying she was very effective at raising awareness. The others in the top five were Bono (32 percent), Angelina Jolie (31 percent), Brad Pitt (23 percent) and George Clooney (22 percent).

Harris surveyed 2,513 U.S. adults online between March 11 and 18.

Younger people were more likely than older people to believe celebrities make a positive difference, and Democrats (55 percent) more likely than Republicans (36 percent) to feel the same, Harris said in a statement.

Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they have supported a cause because of what they heard an actor, singer or other celebrity say or do.

Forty-seven percent said it was bad for celebrities to endorse political candidates.