Harry Potter could help stop Donald Trump becoming US president

The more Potter books a person has read, the lower their opinion of the Republican candidate

Jess Denham
Friday 22 July 2016 08:58
Comments
JK Rowling's Harry Potter books promote tolerance and an 'opposition to authoritarianism'
JK Rowling's Harry Potter books promote tolerance and an 'opposition to authoritarianism'

The threat of Donald Trump becoming president may be enough to make some Americans contemplate leaving their country but there is hope yet in an unlikely hero.

Harry Potter fans have been found to have a lower opinion of the Republican candidate in a new study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania, meaning the famous boy wizard could theoretically help save the day.

The paper, due for publication in an election special of PS: Political Science and Politics, claims that Americans who read JK Rowling’s Hogwarts stories are more likely to dislike Trump, possibly as a result of the franchise’s “opposition to authoritarianism” (we’re looking at you, Voldemort) and promotion of diversity, tolerance and acceptance. This was found to be the case even when predictors such as age, education and political leanings were controlled.

Brilliantly titled “Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald”, it is the result of a survey of 1,142 Americans before and after Trump’s campaign in 2014 and 2016. Those taking part were asked for their views on a range of controversial issues from the death penalty and torture to Islamophobia and gay rights. They were directly asked about Trump in the latter part of the study.

The study’s leader, Professor Diana Mutz from the Annenberg School for Communication, found that the more Harry Potter an individual had read, the lower their opinion of Trump on a scale of 0-100, sometimes by up to 3 points.

“This may seem small but for someone who has read all seven books, the total impact could lower their estimate of Trump by 18 points out of 100,” Mutz said in a press release. “The size of this effect is on par with the impact of party identification on attitudes towards gays and Muslims. Because Trump’s political views are widely viewed as opposed to the values espoused in the Harry Potter series, exposure to the Potter series may play an influential role in influencing how Americans respond to Donald Trump.”


To date, 450 million copies of Harry Potter have been sold worldwide and it remains unknown conclusively how the books might have changed people’s thinking. However, Mutz’s study offers evidence that our opinions can be influenced by lessons learned from fiction. “Perhaps most importantly, these findings raise the hope that Harry Potter can stop the Deathly Donald and make America great again in the eyes of the world, just as Harry did by ridding the wizard world of Voldemort,” she said.

Rowling will likely be pleased by the study’s findings after she tweeted last December that Voldemort was “nowhere near as bad” as Trump.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in