Recently announced, a new study has found a direct link between Harry Potter book readers and negative feelings towards the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
“Harry Potter and the Dangerous Donald” is set to be published in a special 2016 election issue of “PS: Political Science and Politics” and was written by Diana Mutz, a Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Whew, that’s a doozy of a title! Anyway, the study polled 1,142 Americans and asked them how many books in the Harry Potter series they had read (the movies show no significant correlation), as well as to rate their feelings towards Trump on a 1-100 scale.
For each book read to completion, a person’s opinion of Trump dropped on average two-three points. This means that someone who has completed all seven books in the series could have their view lowered by an average of 14-21 points, or more! While that doesn’t seem like a very significant swing, Mutz says that’s actually the same margin of change a candidate’s views on homosexuality or Muslims could have on a voter. Even people who had only read one book in the series showed a significant impact, viewing Trump up to nine points more negatively, while conversely viewing homosexuals and Muslims five-six points more positively. Additionally, Mutz found that the correlation held, even when people identified as conservative, as well as controlling for gender, age, education level, religious identification.
Trump’s rhetoric directly opposes those of Harry and his comrades, and more closely aligns with the values and rhetoric of Lord Voldemort. Trump’s rise to demagogue status is on par with that of The Dark Lord. Both have a sinister, domination-driven, dictatorial approach of “follow me, or else!” Trump has called for the building of a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants, as well as the banning of Muslim immigration, which closely echoes Voldemort’s feelings towards muggles and mudbloods and the purification of Europe/the world. Voldemort was well known for his violent and sadistic tendencies, easily resorting to torture or worse to gain information, and stopping at nothing to get what he wanted. Trump, in comparison, has widely advocated for waterboarding and torture, as well as killing of known terrorists’ families as a means of deterrence. He’s also openly praised acts of violence by his followers towards non-followers and protesters.
Mutz focused on three themes from the books: the value of tolerance and respect for difference, opposition to violence and punitiveness, and opposition to authoritarianism. These themes are central throughout each book, with tolerance being chief among them. Tolerance for creatures, as well as humans, who are different than yourself. Hermione even created a society to help the House Elves of Hogwarts, and the gang formed Dumbledore’s Army to help train and protect the students from danger, nonlethally. Additionally, we consistently see the avoidance of unnecessary curses for killing, torture or controlling others. “Things aren’t what they seem on the surface, I think that kind of mutual respect that Harry demonstrates, even in the very last book where his son says, ‘Oh, I hope I am not in Slytherin,’ Harry says, ‘You know, one of the greatest men I ever knew was a Slytherin.’ The idea is not to categorize people, not to dismiss their value,” said Mutz.
Upon receiving word of the study, Supreme-Leader-to-be Trump knew he needed to deflect and redirect attention at his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Wasting no time, Trump commissioned the “brilliant” research minds at the Trump University Omarosa Manigault School of Business Sciences to conduct a similar experiment comparing people’s opinions of Clinton verse how many “Hunger Games” movies (Trump supporters can’t be bothered to read) they had seen. The study, entitled “Crooked Hillary and the Katniss Effect,” polled 12,000 Trump supporters (not-surprisingly all white males) and asked people primarily how many of the four films they had seen, then also asked them to rank their opinion of Clinton on a scale of 1-100.
For each movie completed, pollers’ opinions of Hillary dropped an average of five-seven points, while also bolstering their support for The Donald by three-five points – they also viewed groups such as muslims, homosexuals, latinos, and women 4-6 points more negatively. Like stated in the previous study, it may not seem significant, but that’s a potential 20-28 point negative swing for Hilldog, and a possibly 12-20 point uptick for Trump. Additionally, the study found that people who had only watched one of the films viewed Hillary as much as 10 points more negatively, and Trump as high as seven points higher. Obviously, the study held despite the pollers’ age, sex, education level and religious identification.
When asked which character they identified with and/or rooted for the most, nearly 100% of those polled responded with President Snow. Furthermore, the researchers found that the final two movies in the series, “The Hunger Games Mockingjay: Part 1 & 2,” gave a bigger positive boost towards Trump than the previous two, and conversely, had a smaller negative impact on Clinton’s rating. The researchers attributed this to Snow’s brutal decision making and treatment of “outsiders” (sound familiar?) trying to overtake the districts and ultimately the Capital, as well as President Coin’s sneaky, underhanded, and nefarious bombing of the children in the Capital – which nearly all pollers said was something they could see Clinton doing.
The films’ central themes of outsiders coming together, fighting oppression, rising up to “invade” the Capital, and fight against a Demagogue-turned-dictator and his army of loyal supporters didn’t sit well with supporters polled, finding that they nearly unilaterally agreed with President Snow’s regime and showed nearly zero sympathy for the citizens form the 13 districts.
In his only statement on the matter, Trump classically deflected as much attention as he could towards the Clinton camp, saying “The study by my genius, and they are REALLY smart guys, let me tell you, these geniuses found out that a movie like The Hunger Games, which is a very realistic outcome if we don’t stop the Muslims from taking over, shows that people don’t support that crooked liar Hillary one bit. And further, her team of lying, cheating, manipulating Democrats, and they are very misleading, we know this; their study about magic and make-believe is just a waste of time trying to distract you, the public that I love so much, from what she’s really doing.”