DAYTON, Ohio, March 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Do you know who your favorite actor is pulling for in the election? What about your governor?
The endorsement of a candidate is a simple show of support, whether in the form of a campaign donation, an official news release or a quick tweet. Any well-known name may choose to declare their allegiance to a candidate for office: newspapers, politicians, celebrities and even brands choose a side. While some claim to be able to predict the winner by tallying the endorsements of representatives, delegates and governors, it's unclear whether or not celebrity endorsements have any impact on the deciding votes or the media coverage – until now.
A recent LexisNexis Newsdesk analysis reviewed how much endorsements are covered by traditional media, which in turn can provide an idea of who has the stronger voice – government officials or celebrities.
Let's take a look at the Democratic candidates and recent endorsements by elected officials as they pertain to coverage (broadcast, print and online).
Governor Kate Brown (D-OR) announced her support for frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a statement on March 21 while former President Bill Clinton campaigned in Oregon. Brown's endorsement generated only a slight increase in media coverage for the presidential candidate.
Bernie Sanders gained the endorsement of Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) when she introduced him at a rally in Toledo, Ohio on March 11. Here again, there was an increase in media coverage for Sanders, but paltry, to say the least.
Clinton, the most endorsed candidate among both parties, collects at least a few endorsements over the course of a week, so another may not be a big deal. Support from elected officials has been hard to come by for Sanders, however, which appears to explain why the endorsement from Ohio is covered more than Clinton's gubernatorial acquisition.
Now let's see recent celebrity endorsements for the democratic candidates. Actor and activist George Clooney's endorsement came in the form of a Clinton Campaign email on March 21, as noted by the spike in coverage on this particular day.
A week earlier, Danny DeVito proclaimed, "We need you, Obi-Wan," as he introduced Bernie at a rally in St. Louis, Missouri. Again, another significant spike.
George Clooney's interest in politics and social issues make him a reliable voice of reason for the Clinton campaign. Danny DeVito's cross-generational appeal as an actor well-known for his roles in Taxi and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia make him an appropriate choice for Sanders, who is reaching to keep the support of the youth vote and gain more support in the 45+ age range. Both endorsements pulled in quite a bit more coverage than political endorsements.
What causes the difference in coverage between elected officials' and celebrities' endorsements? Is it the way celebrities make their affirmation? Perhaps not, because both Kaptur and DeVito introduced Sanders at a rally (although DeVito did titillate with his Star Wars reference). Or is it that voters relate more to a celebrity than to a governor or a representative, and therefore find these endorsements a better read?
The "celebrity factor" certainly does appear to make a difference in traditional media coverage. Will the candidates seek more celebrity endorsements? Does it matter to voters? We'll find out as the races narrow and we get closer to the National Conventions, but one main theme does continue to prevail: there is no predicting what will happen next.
Data and information powered by LexisNexis Newsdesk.
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