University of Vermont political science professor Anthony Gierzynski has claimed that Harry Potter “played a small but not insignificant role” in President Obama’s election, in both 2008 and 2012.
The research is presented in the professor’s new book, called Harry Potter and the Millennials: Research Methods and the Politics of the Muggle Generation.
Gierzynski’s study included 1,000 college students born after 1980 and found that 60 percent of students who had read the book voted for Obama in 2008. Some 83 percent of readers had a negative view of former President George W. Bush.
Gierzynski argues that themes of tolerance and diversity in the novel, which Obama emphasized in both campaigns, appealed more to Democrats than Republicans.
Readers also tended to be politically tolerant and less supportive of torture.
The book distinctly categorizes good and evil, which Gierzynski believes impacted readers’ political views and ethical values. Supporting immigration reform and marriage equality are just some of the opinions more likely to be held by Harry Potter readers.
“The deep immersion in the story and identification with the characters almost guaranteed an alignment of fans’ perspectives with those of the wizarding world,” Gierzynski wrote.
He advised Republicans who hopes to win young voters' support to distance themselves from the right-wing.
Students involved in the research attended the University of Vermont, University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Adirondack Community College, California Polytechnic State University, Iowa State and Pacific Lutheran University.