Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian: When a candidate is backed by certain people, voters are much less likely to support them
Watch who’s got your back.
That’s the message to political candidates from a new poll by public opinion firm Morning Consult, looking at celebrities and politicians whose endorsements might be the the most damaging to a political candidate.
The public opinion firm asked nearly 2,000 registered voters whose endorsement would make them less likely to support a candidate. Of course, some of the answers fall predictably along party lines: Democrats say an endorsement by Donald Trump and Mike Pence are the top two kisses of death for a politician, Republicans say Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.
But then it starts to get interesting. Kim Kardashian lands on Democrats’, Republicans’ and Independents’ lists — and in fact tops Independents’ list as the most damaging political endorsement.
Why the dis on Kimmy K? “She may have the highest IQ on the planet but she is discounted by the masses because of how she gained her notoriety,” says Fran Walfish, a celebrity psychotherapist based in Beverly Hills. (Brands, on the other hand, are clamoring for Kardashians’ endorsement — reportedly paying up to $500,000 for her endorsements on Instagram, for example).
While this is just a poll of the potentially damaging nature of certain endorsements, recent history shows that endorsements can play a significant role in an election. Indeed, there’s some evidence that then-unpopular George W. Bush’s endorsement of John McCain may have hurt that 2008 campaign. More recently, Obama’s endorsements of a handful of Democratic candidates in 2010 may have hurt them.
Candidates know that endorsement can hurt too. For example, Al Gore distanced himself from scandal-plagued Bill Clinton when he was campaigning — even saying at the Democratic National Convention “I stand here tonight as my own man.” And this year in the Virginia gubernatorial race, Ed Gillespe kept his distance from Pres. Donald Trump by not acknowledging Trump’s tweet endorsing him until he was asked about it by the media.
Of course, endorsements can also play a crucial role in helping a candidate — even if they are from celebrities not generally connected to politics. One study estimated that Oprah’s endorsement of Obama in 2008 yielded him one million extra votes. Here are the most valuable endorsements, according to voters.
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