If the American presidential election were held today with a ballot featuring all the most well-known candidates and potential candidates alongside a handful of Hollywood's most legendary villains, the Terminator,and the shark from "Jaws" would all stand a better chance of making it to Inauguration Day than any of the candidates who actually live in our universe.
At least, that's the conclusion we could draw from three polls combined into one nifty graph by Christopher Ingraham over at The Washington Post. Ingraham, a political blogger, culled favorability ratings of actual declared and potential candidates from the more, er... serious Washington Post-ABC News and Quinnipiac polls and plotted that data alongside similar ratings of big-screen bad guys from a Google Consumer Survey of 1,000 Internet users that he set up himself.
The result, published Tuesday, was that the three aforementioned fictional evil-doers all had much higher net favorability ratings than any real-world candidates. In fact, the only non-fiction candidate with a net positive favorability ranking (meaning more people approve than disapprove of the candidate overall) was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who's running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic party nomination.
Sanders' rating is just a few points above neutral, whereas the(no model specified, but presumably respondents pictured the one that was elected governor of California a few times) is almost 20 points into positive territory, followed by Lord Vader at about +10 and that bloodthirsty great white shark from our nightmares at around +7.
In fact,of "Harry Potter" fame is the only villain in the poll with a net negative rating, placing him below Sanders, Clinton, Democrat Martin O'Malley and Republicans Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Scott Walker, but still more favorably viewed than Republicans Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie and the remarkably despised (at least according to this data) Donald Trump.
Hopefully I don't have to point out just how unscientific and silly this is -- Ingraham himself concedes that it shouldn't be taken too seriously. Then again, perhaps it should be, since real-world and fictional political universes have been known to collide, like when Darth Vader mounted an unsuccessful bid foras the official candidate of the Internet Party.
It's always possible to revitalize a tarnished bad guy brand as well -- consider the example of Iceland's, which takes its name from the controversial marauders, first of the sea and later of modern digital copyrights, and has recast it into something that has helped it rise in popularity almost over night.
Perhaps somebody should start building a campaign bus big enough to transport a great white shark, after all.