Ted Kennedy recently announced his endorsement of Barack Obama for president. Ted Kennedy is just one of many well-known names to endorse a presidential candidate in the current presidential campaign, and probably won’t be the last. But how much impact do these endorsements have on a candidate’s chances of winning a spot in the oval office?
Time.com has published a list of reasons that Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama is a big deal. The list is as follows:
“1. Ted Kennedy has a huge Hispanic following, big in Super Tuesday states, and a weak spot for Barack Obama.
2. The symbolism of the Kennedy name-change, “Democratic legitimacy”, youth, and “viability.
3. Barack Obama stands to benefit from the press coverage that follows Ted Kennedy.
4. “[S]enators and superdelegates” may begin to realize that it is OK to endorse Obama against the Clintons.
5. Ted Kennedy has a following of working-class, and “traditional Democrats”, another area of weakness for Barack Obama.
6. Ted Kennedy has a considerable following “among union households”, another of Barak Obama’s areas of weakness.
So, it looks like Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama could help the presidential hopeful make up for areas where he lacks as well help draw even more attention to his campaign. But what about the other endorsements for Barack Obama and other presidential hopefuls. Do these endorsements really stand to make a major impact in the 2008 race for office?
Barack Obama has the backing of such well-known faces as Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, and Oprah, among several others. Oprah, besides for Ted Kennedy, is probably the one endorser of Barack Obama who stands to bring the most attention to Obama’s campaign.
Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by the likes of Paul Newman, Joley Fisher, and Danny DeVito, just to name a few.
And on the Republican side…
Mitt Romney has the backing of Paul Otellini, Johnny Miller, David Neeleman, Meg Witman and Dennis Hastert. If you aren’t familiar with the business world, former House speakers, and golf analysts, then you probably aren’t familiar with these people.
John McCain has been endorsed by Evelyn Lauder, Roger Enrico, and Bob Perry. Again, you’d have to be familiar with the business world to know who these people are. Okay, maybe Evelyn Lauder’s name gives her away.
So, now that we have taken a look at who has endorsed the two front-runners of each party, what can we draw from all of this endorsement “stuff”?
If endorsements are going to make a difference for the candidates who have garnered them, then they are probably going to make their biggest impact on those voters who are undecided. In today’s political world, it seems that most people either have a strong opinion on where they stand politically, or they are truly looking for a reason to vote for one candidate or another.
I would think that the endorsements for democrats are more likely to have an impact on younger voters, since many of the endorsements for republicans aren’t really names that many are going to be familiar with, unless they are business majors. I also think that the number of endorsements seen on the side of the democrats, verses the number of endorsements for republicans may say more to undecided voters than who the endorsers are.
The bottom line is, endorsement affects can only truly be measured on an individual voter basis. I know who I am voting for, and I know several others who are set in their decision, and it doesn’t seem to me that their favorite big screen star’s preferred candidate is truly going to sway their vote.
I don’t head to the polls to vote for an Oscar, I go to vote for the person who I most trust to make the right decisions for the future of the nation in which I reside. Sure, the Kennedy name is impressive, and is tied to a long political legacy, but then again, the family is rumored to be cursed (knock on wood).
I really hope that voters take the time to do their own research before voting in November, and leave voting based on endorsements to truly desperate situations (i.e. you are rescued from an unpopulated island hours before the polls close).