Pollster says celebrity endorsements rarely have major impact on elections

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman said Wednesday that celebrity endorsements generally do not have a major impact on elections, while noting that newspaper endorsements can affect political races.

“In general, celebrity endorsements aren’t that important,” Mellman, CEO of the Mellman Group, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking.”

“People like to have them. They draw attention to candidates, that’s useful. They can draw money, that’s useful to candidates,” he said. “But the reality is very few people are voting for one candidate over the other just because a celebrity is supporting them.”

He said newspaper endorsements, however, can play a role in some parts of the country.

“The Washington Post has a real impact on mayoral races, on other kinds of races, because their endorsement counts,” Mellman said. “People aren’t that engaged, aren’t that familiar with the candidates, and so when a newspaper that people trust endorses, it makes a difference.”

“In other places, people have a very hostile relationship to their local newspaper and that endorsement doesn’t necessarily mean a thing,” he said.

Mellman’s comments come as musician Taylor Swift appears to have contributed to an increase in voter registration after she broke her career-long silence on politics.

Swift endorsed two Tennessee Democrats ahead of the Nov. 6 midterms in an Instagram post.

“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn,” Swift wrote on Sunday. “I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives.”

Vote.org said it has seen a flood of new voter registrations since Swift’s comments.

— Julia Manchester

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