Sunday, December 09, 2007

E-Poll Market Research On Celebrity Endorsements: A Hillary Campaign Ploy?

A polling of 2237 adults 18 years or older revealed things that are not too startling on their faces, but interesting nonetheless: most people don’t care about which celebrity endorses a presidential candidate.

The other interesting thing to me is that I was one of those who were polled.

The other interesting thing is that while I was taking the poll I had the distinct impression that it was a poll that was commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Those who participated in the poll responded to an email message from E-Poll Market Research. The email message came to one of my email addresses that I reserve to communicate with campaigns, so I was reasonably certain that one of the presidential candidates was behind it – and the questions were fairly Hillary-centric.

So that is my reasoning.

That and the fact that the poll results were released quickly on the heels of the Oprah/Obama media blitz, and that Hillary Clinton has stayed away from celebrity endorsements, well, with this one key exception. What else is new?

So yes, (ho-hum) just as many voters are likely to be swayed to vote for a celebrity-endorsed candidate 10% or so, as are there voters who would turn away from a given celebrity-endorsed candidate. And yes (yawn) voters in the 18-24 age bracket are more likely to be influenced by a celebrity endorsement than older age groups.

Probably less well-known, but logical on its face, is that Republican voters are less likely to be influenced by celebrity endorsements of a presidential candidate than Democrats. Democrats, let’s face it, are more touchy feely kind of people who process information that comes in from all directions. Republicans are more linear.

And I really was wondering where they were going with all those celebrity names that they threw out for me to rate. Here’s why: Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Cruise, Madonna, Jane Fonda and Donald Trump have very low polling numbers – candidates need to stay away from these people like the plague. On the other hand, youthful voters would really like to know who the following would support in the Democratic primaries: Jon Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo Di Caprio. Gee, I would, too, but just out of curiosity.

Finally, and this fact is most endearing to me because it is a revelation – again, logical on its face but I never considered it – celebrity endorsements do not faze swing voters. If it is the goal of a presidential campaign to engage swing voters and bring them over to their side, they are barking up the wrong tree. Quoting the press release:
“If a candidate is looking for that narrow margin with swing voters, they shouldn’t look for a celebrity cure. Independents and swing voters are the least likely to be influenced by a celebrity endorsement, with only 13% saying they would be positively persuaded.”
OK, given that figure, a celebrity endorsement in Iowa would affect 13% of the swing voters. That’s actually diabolical if you think about it. In Iowa, they caucus. They are allowed to change their votes. Getting a 13% bump one way or another is significant. Oprah could be just the ticket for Obama in Iowa.

And Iowa alone.

But then there’s that other guy. My guy. John Edwards, who apparently is going to win in Iowa according to Zogby (hope your pop-up blocker is working OK).

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