Republicans and conservatives complained about celebrities getting involved in politics. Despite the fact that the Republicans brought in President Ronald Reagan and Congressmen Sonny Bono and Fred Grundy. After Republicans nominated a television reality show host with no public service experience for president in 2016, conservative criticism of entertainers continued, but generally included the eventual President Donald Trump. I didn’t.
Scholars have produced a great deal of research on the positive effects of celebrity political endorsements. I mean research that has shown that the public can be influenced to agree with celebrity tastes. There is also some evidence to suggest that taking a political stance may improve the status of celebrities in the public eye. are known to have minimal or no
Recently, I’ve become interested in individuals whose celebrity political endorsements don’t seem to work. Is there a particular group of voters? To find out, I looked back at survey data my colleague Melissa Miller and I at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) gathered just before the 2016 Ohio presidential primary. The poll was conducted by Zogby Analytics on October 16th and 17th, 2015 and included 804 likely voters for the 2016 General Election with a margin of error of 3.5 percent. The data isn’t new, but it helps us understand the important role celebrities play in politics.
Respondents were asked whether, assuming a presidential endorsement of each of the seven celebrities, their likelihood of voting for that candidate would increase, decrease, or have no effect. Celebrities whose potential endorsements have been measured include George Clooney, Beyoncé, Trace Adkins, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Nugent, Eva Longoria and Lena Dunham. These celebrities were chosen for their diversity of race, gender, partisanship and ideology. If voters are to be influenced by celebrities, he should definitely be one of them. In both cases, an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that celebrity endorsements were ineffective, even though there were circumstances in which celebrities would motivate votes.
To investigate this further, we decided to look at those who said that all seven potential celebrity endorsements would not affect their votes. ” or at least “celebrity indifference”. Just 46.1% of respondents said that celebrity endorsements do not influence votes. Who are these people?
First, they are more likely to be female than male (48.1% to 41.8%) and more likely to be uneducated than college educated (48.9% to 43.2%). Although there was no difference regarding age, those unaffected by celebrity endorsement came from the higher income groups measured. ) were significantly less likely to be immune to celebrity endorsements. (43.3% vs 55.2%).
There were also many important differences in terms of political orientation. Union members were much more likely than others to be immune to celebrity endorsements (53.1% vs. 44.6%). People who identified as independents were about 10% more likely to be immune to celebrity endorsements than those who identified as Democrats or Republicans. Moderates (56.1%) were much more likely than conservatives (38%) and liberals (41.9%) to be immune to celebrity endorsements.
Some of these differences are easier to explain than others. This time, let’s start with the political variables. Independents and moderates are more likely to be aware of celebrities’ partisan and ideological orientation, most of whom are left-wing and Democratic-sponsored, and who, as a result, are more likely to be aware of their party affiliation or consistent ideological orientation. We may reject their support in the same way that we rejected our preferences as a whole. Independents and moderates may see celebrity endorsements primarily as a proxy for Democratic or liberal endorsements. Union members, on the other hand, may be accustomed to taking political cues from their union leaders, so they may resist celebrity endorsements.
In terms of demographic variables, differences between blacks and other respondents were due to the presence of a hypothetical endorsement of Oprah Winfrey, one of the most consistently successful and powerful African American celebrities of all time. It is thought to be due to Other differences are a little more difficult to explain. Are women inherently more skeptical of celebrities? Are reincarnated people not? Why are college-educated respondents less likely to resist celebrities? Is common sense more important than expertise in celebrity resistance? Some are correlated with and interact with other political and social variables, creating complex combinations that need to be sorted out in future research.
Of course, there are many factors besides demographic and political characteristics that influence entertainment and political sentiment, such as media preferences, particularly social media use. Unfortunately, the available survey data do not include this measure, but future research is needed. It is also possible that some people refuse to participate in celebrity culture for idiosyncratic reasons that may not show up in research studies.
The data reviewed here suggest that there is a core group of American voters who are not driven by celebrity endorsements. Certain demographic characteristics and political beliefs can help explain who is resistant or indifferent to celebrities, but how do these characteristics make individuals unmoved by celebrity endorsements? I can’t say. As celebrities’ involvement in politics continues to grow, will more voters become more resistant to, or at least more critical of, celebrities? Will there be candidates and endorsements? You won’t have to wait long to find out, because the next election is always around the corner.
David J. Jackson is Professor of Political Science at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. His main research area is the relationship between entertainment and politics, especially the role of celebrity endorsements in politics. He also wrote about the Polish diaspora in North America and organized workers’ electoral strategies in the United States. He is the author of the bookentertainment and politics”