The Bible Remains America's Favorite Book

Gone with the Wind and the Harry Potter series are 2nd and 3rd favorites

12:00 AM EDT Apr 29, 2014 Rating
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New York, N.Y. - April 29, 2014 - There's always one. It might be something you remember fondly from when you were a child. Or, it could be one that just resonated with you years after your first experienced it. For some, it could the one that surprised them the most. That one is a favorite book, and with people reading in so many different ways today, it's interesting to see what America's favorite book is. This year, same as in 2008 when The Harris Poll last asked this question, the number one book is The Bible, followed by Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Moving up one spot on the list to number three is J.K. Rowling's tales of the young wizard in the Harry Potter series. Rounding out the top five favorite books are another series - J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which drops one spot to number four - and Harper Lee's coming of age classic To Kill a Mockingbird, which moves up two spots to number five.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,234 U.S. adults surveyed online between March 12 and 17, 2014.

New to the list at number six is the story of the hunting of a great white whale, Herman Melville's Moby Dick, followed by another coming of age tale, J.D. Salinger's Cather in the Rye, which moves up three spots to number seven. Then we have three more new additions to the list. At number eight is yet another coming of age tale, Louisa Mae Alcott's Little Women, followed by The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck at number nine and then F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby at number ten.

With four new additions to the list, that means four titles - one horror, two thrillers and one controversial classic - dropped from the top ten this year. The horror title is from a man who's been called the form's master, Stephen King, whose novel The Stand dropped from the top ten after holding the number five spot the last time around. The two thrillers are from the same author, Dan Brown, whose The Da Vinci Code was number six in 2008 and whose Angels and Demons held the number eight spot. Finally, the classic, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, dropped from the top ten list after holding the ninth position in 2008.

Different Second Favorites

Across all the various demographic groups The Bible is the number one book, but there are definitely differences in the second favorite. Men go to fantasy, with The Lord of the Rings series being their second favorite, while for women it's all about the Southern charm in Gone with the Wind. There is also a generational difference, with Millennials' second favorite being the Harry Potter series while for Gen Xers it's The Lord of the Rings series. Both Baby Boomers' and Matures' second favorite is Gone with the Wind.

There is also a race/ethnicity difference. For Whites Gone with the Wind is their second favorite book while for Blacks it is Moby Dick and for Hispanics The Great Gatsby is their second favorite book. Regionally, Gone with the Wind is both Southerners' and Midwesterners' their second favorite book, but there is a battle between wizards on the coasts. In the East The Lord of the Rings series is the second favorite while in the West it is the Harry Potter series.

Finally there is sort of a political divide. First, there is something that Republicans, Democrats and Independents actually agree on -Gone with the Wind is their second favorite book. However, while Conservatives and Moderates say the same, Liberals' second favorite book is the Harry Potter series.

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TABLE 1

FAVORITE BOOK

Who is your favorite book of all time?

Unprompted responses

Base: All adults

2008

2014

The Bible

1

1

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

2

2

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

4

3

The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien

3

4

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

7

5

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

 

6

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

10

7

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

 

8

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

 

9

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

10

DROPPED OFF OF LIST IN 2014

The Stand by Stephen King (was No. 5), The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (was No. 6) Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (was No. 8) and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (was No. 9)


TABLE 2

TOP BOOK AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS AFTER THE BIBLE

AMONG:

2014

Men

The Lord of the Rings (series)

Women

Gone with the Wind

Millennials (18-36)

Harry Potter (series)

Gen X (37-48)

The Lord of the Rings (series)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Gone with the Wind

Matures (68+)

Gone with the Wind

White

Gone with the Wind

Black/African American

Moby Dick

Hispanic

The Great Gatsby

Republicans

Gone with the Wind

Democrats

Gone with the Wind

Independents

Gone with the Wind

Conservatives

Gone with the Wind

Moderates

Gone with the Wind

Liberals

Harry Potter (series)

East

The Lord of the Rings (series)

Midwest

Gone with the Wind

South

Gone with the Wind

West

Harry Potter (series)

High School or less

Gone with the Wind

Some College

Gone with the Wind

College Graduate

Gone with the Wind

Post Graduate

The Lord of the Rings (series)

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States March 12 and 17, 2014 among 2,300 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

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The Harris Poll #42, April 29, 2014

By Regina A. Corso, VP, The Harris Poll and Public Relations

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

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