Nate Silver's statistics site FiveThirtyEight polled people about the favourability of different Star Wars characters, and only Jar Jar Binks was less popular than Obama
He may have overseen the destruction of the peaceful planet of Alderaan, but Darth Vader is still more popular than Hillary Clinton – and indeed all of the prospective candidates for the 2016 American presidential election.
FiveThirtyEight, the site run by esteemed statistician Nate Silver, polled nearly 1200 people as to the favourability of various Star Wars characters. The likes of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia triggered popularity that politicians can only dream of, with up to 93% of respondents approving of them, but Darth Vader managed an impressive 58% approval rating – thus proving that with enough statesmanlike authority and public-speaking skills, anyone can sway an electorate.
The Washington Post's Wonkblog then crunched the numbers against the approval ratings of upcoming presidential candidates and other politicians, and it's not particularly flattering reading. Barack Obama can take heart from the fact that at least he's not as unpopular as Jar Jar Binks, but is outdone by Emperor Palpatine, a man determined to let the forces of evil govern entire galaxies. Hillary Clinton will be similarly disappointed to learn than her 19% approval rating puts her on a par with amoral bounty hunter Boba Fett – but then again she doesn't have a cool jetpack.
The likes of Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who champions the right to bear arms, might be heartened by Palpatine and Vader's popularity, given its implicit support of the use of hand-to-hand combat in solving personal disputes. The relatively high levels of support for the Sith duo might be troubling to the more doveish candidates, though, as it seems to suggest an enthusiasm for aggressively expansionist foreign policy.
We'll get to see exactly how enduring a political legacy was left by the Empire in the forthcoming Star Wars sequel, Episode VII, currently being filmed by JJ Abrams and set for release in December 2015.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010