'Harry Potter' fans share many political views, says survey

A new book by a University of Vermont professor found that 'Harry Potter' fans have similar views on political topics – with a large majority in opposition to the George W. Bush administration.

By , Staff Writer

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    The 'Harry Potter' movies star Daniel Radcliffe (r.), Rupert Grint (second from r.), Emma Watson (second from l.), and Matthew Lewis (l.).
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Harry Potter” fans already have in common their ability to rattle off obscure trivia like character Ron Weasley’s favorite Quidditch team or the address of protagonist Harry’s cruel aunt and uncle.

But it turns out they may share something more substantial as well: political views.

According to a book by University of Vermont professor Anthony Gierzynski titled “Harry Potter and the Millennials,” college-age Potter fans share similar political stances. They are “more open to diversity; politically tolerant; less authoritarian; less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture; [and] more politically active,” according to University of Vermont writer Jon C. Reidel.

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They also have similar tastes in politicians, with 83 percent of respondents saying they disliked the George W. Bush administration and about 60 percent stating that they voted for Barack Obama during his first election.

“Whether the book provided new perspectives or reinforced those already in their world, the deep immersion in the story and identification with the characters almost guaranteed an alignment of fans’ perspectives with those of the wizarding world, perspectives that would differentiate them from their nonfan peers,” Gierzynski told the University of Vermont.

The author surveyed 1,100 students between 2009 and 2011. Almost half of them had seen every movie, while 35 percent said they’d read all of the books in the series, and two-thirds of the students said they'd read at least part of the heptalogy. Their schools were located all over the US, from California Polytechnic State University to the University of Mississippi.

Gierzynski believes that the students’ increased political engagement “perhaps reflects the story’s lesson on the need to act, and efficacy of doing something to fight what is ‘wrong’ in the world.”

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