Darth Vader, a fictional personification of evil incarnate, has been found to be more popular than any of the potential candidates for president that might run in 2016. In fact, FiveThirtyEight.com and the Washington Post released a poll Tuesday (July 22) that showed not only was the movie character more popular than a host of would-be candidates, he and three more characters from the “Star Wars” movies — Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Yoda — are also more popular than many sitting politicians.
Well, you knew that one day it would happen: Politicians in the U. S. would become so unpopular, they would be seen with less favor than evil icons. Several consecutive do-nothing Congresses and a field of Republican candidates for president in 2012 that looked more like a casting call for a political farce and you now have a population that looks at Darth Vader, the ruthless and evil Dark Lord of the Sith in George Lucas’ “Star Wars” franchise, in a more favorable light than most major political figures.
Darth Vader was even more popular than Hillary Clinton, which the Democratic Party is hoping will decide to run, although she has as yet to declare her intentions. She was, however, tied with the bounty hunter Boba Fett and ranked highest among all the politicians. She only scored an 19 percent favorability, though. (Darth Vader had a 24 percent favorability rating.)
Former Arkansas governor and Fox News Channel personality Mike Huckabee placed behind the former First Lady. Then Rand Paul and Marco Rubio follow, neither of which had double-digit favorability.
Oddly enough, Emperor Palpatine, the singlemost example of evil in that “galaxy far, far away,” placed tenth in the polling, one place higher than Mitt Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan, and four places higher even than President Barack Obama.
Congress, of course, scored the worst in the poll. They have a history of scoring low in polls and the current Congress (113th) set a record for lowest approval rating in November (9 percent), the lowest point in 39 years of Gallup polling. The collective governing body of the U. S. posted a -65 percent. Not surprising in the least, Congress was dead last in the poll.
Comparing real people to fictional characters is all well and good and just might show some insight into the collective psychology of the American people — or at least of the polling sample. But if two of the most evil characters in can score higher favorability ratings than 17 political figures, many of whom will probably declare their candidacy for president in 2016 (or sooner), and the U. S. Congress, it is likely a reflection of effectiveness rather than likeability.
And if you’re puzzled that Darth Vader could get such a high rating, just remember: Darth Vader renounced his Sithian dark ways at the end of the first trilogy of movies and joined Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi as part of the benevolent side of The Force (the universal energy that binds everything, or some such). In short, Luke Skywalker’s father redeemed himself. Which begs the question: With House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all heavily in the minus category (but still far short of Congress’ dismal rating), do average Americans think they’re beyond redemption — that is, are they simply perceived as lacking the capability of being effective at their positions?