– Jessica James, author
The votes are in on the Presidential Poll I conducted, and I think the results are very revealing about the upcoming presidential election.
For those of you who did not take part, I asked avid readers to choose the literary character they think best exemplifies the qualities of a U.S. president.
Voters overwhelmingly chose Atticus Finch, the main character from the classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird, who defended an African-American in court against trumped up charges. Readers said they admired Finch’s courage and steadfast principles, as well as his strong moral values in standing up for what he believed was right.
I got the idea for the poll after seeing the multitude of contradictory opinions about the presidential race that are reported each day. I thought it would be a fun exercise to make people think hard about the inner qualities that make a good president.
In the first phase of the poll, I received a wide array of suggestions from the groups I asked, ranging from a Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer ticket (with Tom Sawyer pulling the strings), to Slartibartfast from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
From those suggestions, I created a poll from the most popular ones.
Finch ended up winning overwhelmingly, with 56 percent of the votes. Coming in second, with 15 percent of the votes was Mr. Darcy from Jane’s Austin’s novel Pride and Prejudice. In the novel, Darcy’s seemingly arrogant personality ends up masking a generous heart and a kind soul. Voters seemed to identify with Mr. Darcy’s ability to be humble and to eventually reject his socially elite status.
Taking the third slot in the poll was Colonel Alexander Hunter from my own novel Shades of Gray, who received 11 percent of the vote. Including Hunter in the poll was a last-minute decision, but I don’t think that anyone who reads of his courage, duty to country, and self-sacrifice can deny that he would make a great president.
Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, received 9 percent of the votes. Though wrongly accused and locked for years in a prison, Dantes’ strength of character makes him victorious in the end. Dantes is the perfect example of the ‘underdog,’ and, when he eventually comes out ahead, the reader feels like it’s a victory for them.
The category of “other” also received 9 percent of the votes.
Coming in last place in the poll was the infamous Gone with the Wind character Rhett Butler who received no votes. I think Rhett’s sinister background and relationships with people of questionable moral values were just a little too much for readers, but since the object of the poll was to get people to think about the candidates, it was worth putting him in the mix.
The unscientific poll was conducted last week on my main website at www.jessicajamesbooks.com.