Do Endorsements Really Matter?

Beyonce wants Hillary Clinton to win the election. You like Beyonce. What choice do you have, right? Celebrities, politicians, Silicon Valley CEOs, leaders foreign and domestic – everyone from Katy Perry to Vladimir Putin is endorsing their favorite candidate. But do these endorsements really influence elections? The answer is yes, but probably not in the way you think.

First of all, there isn’t much value to celebrity endorsements when it comes to actual votes. You loved Charles in Charge, but Scott Baio is never going to convince you to suddenly vote for Donald Trump. But even if these endorsements don’t move votes, that doesn’t mean they have no value. Celebrities are worth their weight in gold when it comes to fundraising.

Media endorsements are usually obvious and self serving. When Wired magazine endorsed Hillary Clinton, it was not concerned about offending Trump supporters because they don’t read Wired. Just as no one was shocked when Sean Hannity publicly drew FOX News into the Trump camp. These companies know their audience and are willing to lose a handful of viewers in order to solidify their core audience.

The most meaningful endorsements are ones you probably never hear about. They come from the party elites, and they have a very strong influence on the front end of elections, before it is determined who the candidates will be. Campaigns begin and end with the support of those most influential members of the two major parties. Not even Beyonce has that kind of reach.

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