A recent YouGov poll asked Americans about Disney princesses, including their thoughts on the 2023 live-action version of "The Little Mermaid," diversity in Disney characters, and favorite Disney princesses.
The April 2023 survey found that most Americans strongly or somewhat approve of Ariel being portrayed by a Black actress in the new live-action "The Little Mermaid," and a majority also believe it’s very or somewhat important for Disney princesses to reflect racial diversity.
Diversity when it comes to sexual orientation is a different story. Half (50%) of Americans would strongly or somewhat disapprove of Disney introducing a gay or lesbian princess, while fewer (35%) would approve. Adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or "other," are much more likely to strongly or somewhat approve of this idea, at 64%, than are Americans who identify as heterosexual/straight (30%). (Respondents were given options to describe their orientation as "heterosexual/straight," "lesbian/gay woman," "gay man," "bisexual," or "other"; they also could choose to instead select "prefer not to say.").
Parents of children under 18 are more likely to disapprove (51%) than approve (39%) of Disney introducing a gay or lesbian princess, roughly in line with Americans overall.
The survey also asked Americans about their own history with Disney princesses, including their favorite princess movies and whether they ever looked up to the characters.
The most-loved Disney princess movie — among people who saw each one — is 2016’s "Moana": 54% of viewers say they loved it. It’s followed closely by "Aladdin" (50%), "Brave" (49%), "Beauty and the Beast" (49%), and "Frozen" (49%). "Pocahontas" ranks last among the 13 movies polled about, with 36% of viewers saying they loved it — though it still is loved or liked by 91% of Americans who have seen it.
Despite "Moana" being the most-loved movie featuring a Disney princess, it’s Cinderella whom Americans crown as their favorite Disney princess. Among U.S. adult citizens, 13% say Cinderella is their favorite Disney princess while 10% choose Snow White and 7% favor Belle from "Beauty and the Beast."
Americans 65 and older are particularly likely to choose Snow White as their favorite princess at 17%, while 45- to 64-year-olds are most likely to prefer Cinderella (14%). Among people who are between ages 30 and 44, Pocahontas (10%) and Jasmine, from "Aladdin" (10%) are tied. Adults under 30 are most likely to favor Cinderella, at 15%.
Do Americans think it’s important for Disney princesses to be role models for children? Most do, with 82% saying this is important. Most Americans (55%) think that the Disney princesses are currently good role models for children. Just 16% think the current group of Disney princesses are not good role models and 29% are not sure.
Parents and guardians of children under 18 are especially likely to say the Disney princesses are good role models, at 68%.
As for whether it’s good or bad for young women to look up to princesses, Americans are most likely to take a neutral stance, with 50% who say it’s neither good nor bad when young girls want to be princesses. Another 38% say it’s good, and only 6% see this as a bad thing.
Men (43%) are more likely than women (34%) to say it’s a good thing when little girls want to be princesses.
— Linley Sanders, Taylor Orth, and Carl Bialik contributed to this article
See the toplines and crosstabs for this YouGov poll.
Methodology: This poll was conducted online on April 12 - 20, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 28% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.
Image: Getty (Craig Barritt)