Darth Vader More Popular Than Anyone Who Might Run For President In 2016


Darth Vader

The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham looks at some recent polling and finds that a Dark Lord of the Sith is apparently more popular than the people who will possibly run for President in 2016:

On Tuesday FiveThirtyEight released the results of a poll of Americans’ opinions on the “Star Wars” universe. Not surprisingly, Jar Jar Binks is the most reviled character in the series. As Walt Hickey notes, the Gungan from Naboo posted lower favorability numbers than Emperor Palpatine, “the actual personification of evil in the galaxy.”

On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65. In fact, the last time congressional net favorability was above that was February 2005. Incidentally this was just before the release date of “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” which marked Jar Jar’s last appearance on the big screen.

But picking on Congress’ unpopularity is a bit like beating a dead tauntaun. After all, the legislative branch has been less popular than lice, brussels sprouts and Nickelback for some time now. What if we compared the favorability of 2016 presidential hopefuls and other political leaders with that of “Star Wars” characters?

Hillary Clinton currently has the highest net favorability of any 2016 White House contender. But to put her 19 percent favorable rating in context, she’s tied with Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who froze Harrison Ford in carbonite.

None of the 2016 hopefuls is polling higher than Darth Vader.

Here’s the chart comparing the two polls:

Star Wars POTUS Poll

This is, quite obviously, entirely nonscientific. I mean, after all, the American people wouldn’t really prefer a genocidal disciple of the Dark Side of The Force who tortured his daughter, cut off his son’s hand with a lightsaber, and murdered hundreds of Jedi younglings over an American politician would they?

On second thought, maybe we need to think about this a little more.


FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Popular Culture, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    One of these days I’m going to have to see a Star Wars movie and see what the hype is all about.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    In the end the fictional Darth Vader renounced the dark side and killed the emperor. He should be popular. This chart doesn’t list the real Darth Vader, W. Bush’s VP, and I didn’t readily find recent data. But when he left office it was a net -31. Given the memory of the electorate, I imagine it’s better now.

  3. PJ says:

    Gotta love this comment by Dan4 over at the original story:

    This article is RIDDLED with shoddy journalism, just RIDDLED. Boba Fett didn’t freeze Hans Solo in carbonite; Darth Vader ordered it done, and then turned over the frozen Hans to Boba Fett so that he could deliver him to Jabba the Hutt. [Hey, come to think of it, why wasn’t Jabba included in the poll?] Vader didn’t chop off his son’s arm, just his hand. And Vader didn’t blow up Alderaan; Grand Moff Tarkan ordered it done. I mean, c’mon.

    So true.

  4. Tillman says:

    Vader could get shit done.

    A guy mocked his psychic abilities as a sad devotion to an ancient religion (only gone for, what, sixteen years?) and he frickin’ choked him with his mind.

    I’m just saying, Vader could pass legislation. A lot of legislators would die, if The Empire Strikes Back is anything to go off of, but I don’t think the public would begrudge him his methods after seeing the results.

  5. Tillman says:

    Also, you have no idea how refreshing it is to see Luke Skywalker beating Han Solo in a popularity contest.

    @al-Ameda: This is all you need to know about how Vader would deal with legislators.

  6. CSK says:


    I’ve seen two, but only because I was taken to them on dates. They’re okay. (My true guilty pleasure is disaster movies, or anything entailing a rampaging dinosaur.) Some people regard them as a religious experience (see Jedism). Generally speaking, I think men are more inclined to take the Star Wars flicks seriously as art, philosophy, or theology than are women. I once had a male colleague who was doing a “study” on the influence of Star Wars on peoples’ lives. He handed out these fantastically detailed questionnaires wanting to know how often you thought about SW during the course of the day, how the Star Wars ethos influenced your major decision-making, how the course of your life was altered by the experience of seeing the movies…and so forth. He was kind of puzzled that, while men responded to the queries, women glanced at the questionnaire, shrugged, and tossed it into the circular file. If I’d bothered to answer it, my answers would have been “Never” and “Not at all.”

  7. grumpy realist says:

    @al-Ameda: I saw the first Star Wars when it first came out, and managed to drag my father and one of his friends with me. They had a great time–my father told me it reminded him of all of the old war movies with every single cliche about daring pilots.

    There’s a good documentary out there discussing George Lucas’s filming of Star Wars and the rest of the films. I found it fascinating but also depressing. Lucas has basically spent his entire life and a heck of a lot of money to basically bring a not-so-fantastic pulp fiction to life on film. What could he have done if that same drive and determination had been used to create something in reality–say, a Space Elevator?

    This is why I don’t like science fiction movies, usually. It’s creating a universe, but only through special effects. It’s dreamworld. It’s like continued opium-eating, rather than working to create stuff in reality.

  8. Jim R says:

    @Tillman: Sad devotion to an ancient religion is a common problem in the GOP as well.

  9. rodney dill says:

    Hmmmm….. I wonder why you never see Hillary Clinton and Boba Fett together in the same place?

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    That’s all fine and good, but Vader was born on Tatooine, which is not part of the United States.

    I’ve seen the long-form birth certificate. Father is listed as “unknown,” but he was definitely born on Tatooine.

  11. @grumpy realist:

    George Lucas never had any talent. All the actual talent was in his ex-wife, who was the editor for all his good movies; she was able to edit around his crappy directing to come up with a good result. As soon as they divorced, his films became horrible.

  12. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    @al-Ameda: Stick with the first two that were made. It rather went downhill after that. They are still fun, if you enjoy hero sagas in which the hero is unwittingly setting an entire mythos (in the original packaging).

  13. CSK says:

    @rodney dill:

    There’s a Boba/Bubba joke in there somewhere.

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @CSK: Not to mention a Sarlacc/Lewinsky/vagina dentata trifecta…

  15. Tillman says:

    @James in Silverdale, WA: The third can be recommended if for no other reason than Ian McDiarmid’s perfectly hammy performance.

  16. Jr says:

    @Tillman: The third of the PT is a better film then ROTJ and arguably ANH IMO.

    Can’t touch ESB though.

  17. rodney dill says:

    I find your lack of base disturbing

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: There was a part of the documentary which showed bits of the first draft of Star Wars and you could immediately see why the Hollywood backers panned it. It draaaaaggggeeeedd out like a speech by Fidel Castro. The documentary soft-soaped the work Lucas’s wife did on it–if she’s the person who took that ghastly mess I saw and turned it into the final film hoorah for her and she’s far more responsible for the success of the film than he is. (Editors in whatever medium are unsung heroes.) Then of course after the success Lucas had to go back in with more special effects and tat the whole movie up like a Las Vegas whore, unfortunately.

    ROTJ was too much of a kid’s film for me to really like it, aside from the initial section with Jabba and the speeder bike section. The rest was far too obviously “let’s put something in so we can get toys based on this into the stores.” God I hate Ewoks….Scurrilous Crumb was my favorite.

    So Lucas has made six movies so far in the playground of his mind. How do we think his stuff will stack up against that of other directors? I predict that the only one of the movies that will be around 50 years from now is the first, Star Wars itself–and mainly for historical interest in the beginning of CGI and CGI-aided special effects. Compare that to something like 2001 or Metropolis, which I predict will be watched as long as movies exist. (By the way, if none of you have seen Metropolis, I highly recommend it. Everyone has swiped from it–and I mean EVERYONE.)

  19. Scott F. says:

    Your headline should have been about the reviled Jar Jar Binks being 50+ points more popular than Congress.