Do Celebrity Endorsements Hurt Presidential Hopefuls?

LOS ANGELES, Calif (December 5, 2007) – Oprah Winfrey is putting the muscle of the Harpo empire behind Sen. Barack Obama. Barbra Streisand is belting out the praises for Sen. Hillary Clinton. Yet, it turns out celebrity presidential endorsements might have little affect on the way Americans vote.

A new study from the Pew Research Center shows a celebrity endorsement of a presidential candidate does not influence the choices of the majority of voters, according to a report by The Washington Times.

The study found endorsements from celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Jay Leno, Toby Keith, Angelina Jolie, Jon Stewart, Donald Trump made “no difference” for 75% of people surveyed.

It appears the public does not look to celebrities when it comes to their political choices.

“The proverbial star system is no longer in place. Celebrity has become so loosely defined that it now includes people rejected by the public, or not taken seriously by a large sector of the electorate. That doesn’t do a candidate much good,” Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs, told the Washington Times.

The lack if impact affects both the Democratic and Republican parties.

“Liberal Hollywood traditionally favored Democrats. When a star throws support to a Democrat, it confirms the deepest Republican suspicions about bias in media or entertainment,” Mr. Lichter said. “When the GOP gets a rare celebrity endorsement, Democrats are annoyed that their territory is getting violated.”

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