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Poll: Americans think Iron Man would beat Captain America in a fight

Actors Chris Evans (L) and Robert Downey Jr. speak onstage during Nickelodeon's 2016 Kids' Choice Awards at the Forum on March 12, 2016, in Inglewood, California.
Actors Chris Evans (L) and Robert Downey Jr. speak onstage during Nickelodeon's 2016 Kids' Choice Awards at the Forum on March 12, 2016, in Inglewood, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

At the center of Captain America: Civil War is a pertinent, divisive question: Whose side are you on?

There are only two possible answers — you have to choose between Iron Man and Captain America. But your response involves more than just a preference for Chris Evans's forearms or Robert Downey Jr.'s tech (which are valid criteria, don't get me wrong).

Picking Captain America represents choosing a beacon of freedom or, if you're an Iron Man apologist, a world where superpowered vigilantes run unchecked.

Picking Iron Man suggests a bias toward commonsense safety and regulation — the same type of logic that says drivers need licenses and police officers must undergo training. Or, of course, you could be a Captain America supporter who thinks Iron Man's plan to regulate superheroes doesn't safeguard against a fallible government.

In a poll conducted by Morning Consult and Vox, we asked Americans which hero they think is better and which one they believe in. And, well, this is Captain America's America; Iron Man is just living in it.

When asked which superhero is "better," 40 percent (± 2 percent) of respondents out of the 1,976 registered voters we polled between April 29 and May 2 preferred Captain America, while 33 percent chose Iron Man (28 percent didn't know or had no opinion).

When asked to name the "better all-around superhero," 42 percent chose Captain America, while 28 percent chose Iron Man.


(Vox/Javier Zarracina)

(Vox/Javier Zarracina)

And when asked which superhero is "the better role model for kids," a whopping 59 percent chose Captain America, while only 14 percent chose Iron Man.

(Vox/Javier Zarracina)

Furthermore, it doesn't matter whether you sort the respondents by gender, income, or political affiliation — Captain America remains the hero of choice. In fact, the only demographic that prefers Iron Man to Captain America are 18- to 29-year-olds (of both genders), with 46 percent choosing Iron Man and 41 percent choosing Captain America.

Americans also believe that Iron Man has the better costume:

And that Iron Man had more exciting comics and movies than Cap:

Perhaps the most surprising finding is that Americans' preference for Captain America doesn't seem to be based on whether he can beat Iron Man in a fight; prior to Civil War's release, 41 percent of the people we polled believed Iron Man would win a matchup between the two. (If you happen to be a Morning Consult subscriber, you can head to the company's website to view the poll's full toplines and crosstabs.)

(Vox/Javier Zarracina)

So we live in an America that believes in Captain America. But Iron Man supporters shouldn't fret, because people view him as the stronger superhero. Of course, with a record-breaking box office haul in Civil War's sights, the true winner is neither Iron Man nor Cap — it's Marvel.