Even before cinema was flooded with superhero films, there had already been numerous depictions of Batman, from Tim Burton's Batman franchise to Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Each franchise attempted to adapt the eternal conflict between the dark knight and his most infamous opponent, the Joker. Every fan has a favorite when it comes to the various live-action adaptations of the two characters.
A new poll by The Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult suggests that in general, fans prefer The Dark Knight's Christian Bale and Heath Ledger as Batman and the Joker, respectively, more than they do the Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson from the 1989 Batman, if only by a small margin.
Survey participants were asked how much they favored each of the five actors that have portrayed Batman and how much they favored each of the three actors who have ever portrayed the Joker. Out of the 2,201 adults surveyed, 38% rated Michael Keaton as "very favorable" as Batman, while 39% gave that rating to Christian Bale. Meanwhile, 58% rated Jack Nicholson as "very favorable" as the Joker while 60% gave that rating to Heath Ledger.
Of course, there's going to be some overlap in opinion and there's always room for interpretation with statistics, but as they are, it seems adults prefer the Dark Knight duo slightly more. For comparison, the lowest rated duo is currently Ben Affleck and Jared Leto, with just just 18% of participants rating both them as "very favorable."