Reading Harry Potter means you’re more likely to dislike Donald Trump, that’s according to a study by Professor Diana Mutz, a professor of political science at the Annenberg School for Communication.
Yes, grab a gigantic pinch of salt you may well do – especially when you learn the sample size was only 1,142 people – but the survey suggests the story of Harry Potter works as a “shield charm” against Trump’s message.
The Americans surveyed were polled in both 2014 and in 2016 (before and after Trump’s campaign) asking about their Harry Potter consumption, their attitudes on issues such as waterboarding, the death penalty, the treatment of Muslims and gays, and (in 2016 only) their feelings about Donald Trump on a 0-100 scale.
The results found that “reading Harry Potter books leads Americans to take a lower opinion of Donald Trump. In fact, the more books the participants read, the greater the effect.”
“Even when controlling for party identification, gender, education level, age, evangelical self-identification, and social dominance orientation — all factors known to predict Americans’ attitudes toward Donald Trump — the Harry Potter effect remained.”
Mutz explains: “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.”
The study concludes that each Harry Potter book read lowered respondents’ evaluations of Donald Trump by roughly 2-3 points on a 100 point scale.
“This may seem small,” Mutz acknowledges, “but for someone who has read all seven books, the total impact could lower their estimation of Trump by 18 points out of 100. The size of this effect is on par with the impact of party identification on attitudes toward gays and Muslims.
“It may simply be too difficult for Harry Potter readers to ignore the similarities between Trump and the power-hungry Voldemort,” she added.