February 17, 2004 09:08 PM

The ballots are in and your next president is … Michael Douglas.

At least, that’s the nominee that thousands of moviegoers would pick. In a special President’s Day weekend poll, USA Today readers selected Douglas, who played President Andrew Shepherd opposite Annette Bening in the 1995 film “The American President,” as the best candidate from among eight big-screen contenders.

Douglas received nearly 40 percent of the vote for the head of state slot, but the 59-year-old star was not sure whether voters were casting their ballots for him or for the presidential mate he would potentially bring with him.

“I don’t know if that has to do with (“American President” writer) Aaron (Sorkin) or the thought of Catherine (Zeta-Jones) as first lady,” he tells USA Today.

Douglas has long taken an active stand in politics, the paper reports, promoting nuclear disarmament and human rights, but despite offers from several high-placed senators and congressmen, don’t expect to see his name on the ballot anytime soon.

According to Douglas, these politicians told him that a pollster revealed they needed a gubernatorial candidate for California that had high voter-recognition and who could bankroll his own campaign. “No kidding?” Douglas reportedly responded. “How much are you paying that man for such brilliant information?”

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