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Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald

Few empirical studies suggest that fictional stories can influence political opinions. Nonetheless, this study demonstrates the relevance of Harry Potter consumption- whether reading Harry Potter books or viewing Harry Potter movies-to attitudes toward Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in 2016. Using multivariate models and panel data from 2014 to 2016, results suggest that the lessons of the Harry Potter series have influenced public reactions to Donald Trump as well as to support for punitive policies and tolerance of groups considered by some to be outside the American mainstream.