Even Adults Familiar with Harry Potter Books

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Majority who have heard or read about Harry Potter approve of the book series

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The latest book in author J.K. Rowling's series,Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, sold an unprecedented 3 million copies in just its first weekend of sale. A Gallup poll conducted this past weekend, July 6-9, demonstrates the widespread influence of the books. The vast majority of American adults are aware of the Harry Potter books, over four out of 10 parents who are aware of the books say that their children have read them, and about a third say their child plans on buying the latest installment. While some critics have decried the books' emphasis on witchcraft and violence, only a small percent of Americans who have heard of the books have an unfavorable opinion of them.

Almost Three Out of Four Are Aware of Potter Books
Seventy-one percent of adult Americans say that they are aware of the Harry Potter books, while only 29% are unaware, underscoring the widespread nature of the Potter phenomenon across American society. Awareness is highest among those who are college graduates (85%) and those in higher income groups (80% of those with household incomes of $50,000 and over). Also, women are more likely to have heard or read about Harry Potter than are men, by a 76% to 66% margin.

A Majority of Those Aware of Harry Potter Books Approve of Them
While many credit the Potter books with encouraging children to read, there are critics who object to the books' occasional depiction of violence and their focus on wizardry. However, only 7% of those who are aware of the books disapprove of them, while 52% approve and the remaining 41% express no opinion. Americans who consider themselves politically liberal are much more likely to approve than are self-identified conservatives, by a 63% to 41% margin -- not a surprising finding given conservatives' more typical criticism of certain aspects of American culture. Disapproval is expressed by 12% of conservatives and only 2% of liberals.

Readership of Potter Books is High
Among parents who are aware of the Harry Potter books series, 41% indicate that their children have read Potter books, while 56% say their children have not. Readership of these books is especially high for the following groups:

  • Those living in the suburbs (49%)
  • Those with household incomes of $50,000 or more (47%)
  • Those residing in the East (47%) and Midwest (44%)

Roughly one in three (29%) parents who were aware of the Potter books indicated in the weekend poll that they planned to buy the new book. Parents in higher income households were especially likely to say their children would purchase the book (44% of those whose household income exceeds $75,000 and 35% of those whose household income exceeds $50,000). These results suggest that roughly 8% of all Americans expect to purchase the new book – which is not surprising given the fact that the book is already entering its second printing, pushing the total number of printed copies ofHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fireclose to 6 million.

Survey Methods
The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,001 adults, 18 years and older, conducted July 6-9, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Have you heard or read about the children's book series featuring a character named Harry Potter?

 

 

Yes

No

No opinion

       

2000 Jul 6-9

71%

29%

*



Do you personally have any children under the age of 18?

BASED ON -- 737 -- WHO HAVE HEARD OF HARRY POTTER BOOKS; ± 4 PCT. PTS.

 

 

Yes

No

No opinion

       

2000 Jul 6-9

39%

61%

0%



Have any of your children read Harry Potter books, or had the books read to them?

 

 


Yes, read


No, not read


Unsure

Not heard of/
No children

         

2000 Jul 6-9

11%

16%

1%

72%



BASED ON -- 285 -- WITH CHILDREN UNDER AGE 18 WHO HAVE HEARD OF HARRY POTTER; ± 6 PCT. PTS.

 

 

Yes, read

No, not read

No opinion

       

2000 Jul 6-9

41%

56%

3%



Are any of your children planning to buy the new Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for sale in bookstores starting this weekend?

 

 

Plan
to buy

Do not
plan to buy


Unsure

Not heard of/
No children

         

2000 Jul 6-9

8%

19%

1%

72%



BASED ON -- 285 -- WITH CHILDREN UNDER AGE 18 WHO HAVE HEARD OF HARRY POTTER; ± 6 PCT. PTS.

 

 

Plan
to buy

Do not
plan to buy

No
opinion

       

2000 Jul 6-9

29%

66%

5%



Do you, personally, approve or disapprove of the Harry Potter books?

BASED ON -- 737 -- WHO HAVE HEARD OF HARRY POTTER BOOKS; ± 4 PCT. PTS.

 

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

       

National Adults

52%

7%

41%

Have children under 18

59

8

33

No children under 18

47

6

47



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