Sunday's Academy Awards were a decidedly political affair, with equal pay, government surveillance, incarceration rates, and how we respond to terrorist threats all mentioned from the stage.

Democrats were more vocal about the show's politics than Republicans; Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) tweeted "Amen!" to Patricia Arquette's wage equality comments and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) said he was "proud" of John Legend and Common's speech on voting right and prison reform; Sean Hannity said "American Sniper's loss for Best Picture a "predictable" snub from liberal Hollywood.

So, like everything else, how you took the political parts of the speeches depends on, well, your politics. But it turns out many of the issues brought up at the Oscars actually have wide support from Americans.

Equal pay

After winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Boyhood," Patricia Arquette called for equal pay for women. "It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America," she said.

Americans agree. An open-ended October Gallup poll found 39 percent say equal pay is the most important issue facing working women, followed by 20 percent who named equal opportunity for promotion and advancement.

Government surveillance

"Citizenfour", a film about Edward Snowden and the leaked details of the NSA's government surveillance program, won Best Documentary Feature. Journalist Laura Poitras called the NSA's program a threat to both our privacy and our democracy and thanked Snowden for his courage during her acceptance speech.

A 2013 Gallup poll found 53 percent of Americans disapprove of the NSA's program. This is an Oscar issue that Republicans support more strongly than Democrats, with 63 percent of Republicans saying they disapprove compared with 40 percent of Democrats.

Responding to terrorist threats

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs wasn't specific when she referenced freedom of expression, but her comments come weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attack and two months after Sony Pictures pulled "The Interview" from theaters following threats made by North Korea against those who screened or watched it. "We have a responsibility that no one's voice is silenced by threats," she said. "A responsibility to protect freedom of expression."

About two-thirds of Americans felt similarly when asked about "The Interview" situation. A December CNN/ORC poll found 62 percent thought Sony overreacted canceling "The Interview" release, compared with 36 percent who said it was the right decision.


Musician John Legend referenced several issues during his speech for Best Original Song for "Glory" from "Selma," including high incarceration rates in the U.S., especially among black men.

"We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago but we say that 'Selma' is now because the struggle for justice is right now," he said. "There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850."

Black incarceration rates are an exception among Oscar political topics; a majority of Americans don't think the rate is high because of discrimination. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 25 percent think it's due mostly to discrimination while 74 percent believe it's due mostly to something else. Among black respondents, 50 percent believe it's mostly discrimination.