Oprah Winfrey + Barack Obama = 1 million votes

By Laurie Bennett

August 11, 2008 at 8:01am

What’s the value of a celebrity endorsement in a political campaign?

In the case of Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, about a million votes.

That’s the conclusion of two University of Maryland economists who correlated vote totals with data such as subscriptions to O magazine and purchases of books endorsed by Oprah’s Book Club. They found a close relation in many polling precincts between O subscribers and Obama backers.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

“We think people take political information from all sorts of sources in their daily life,” Moore told The New York Times. “And for some people Oprah is clearly one of them.”

Economists Craig Garthwaite and Timothy Moore tracked celebrity endorsements back to the 1920 presidential campaign and concluded that Winfrey was “a celebrity of nearly unparalleled influence.”

Although she has not confirmed any plans to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Winfrey has reportedly rented a Colorado home for $50,000 per week.

Other celebrities expected to participate in the convention include Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Spike Lee, Warren Beatty, Susan Sarandon, Forrest Whitaker, Scarlett Johansson and Kanye West.

Stevie Wonder, Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow and the Black Eyed Peas are scheduled to perform at convention- related events.

Obama already owes much to the stars - and not only to Oprah. Gwyneth Paltrow produced a video backing the campaign and Hollywood fundraisers have contributed more than $4 million to his campaign.

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  • #1.   Jacob 08.11.2008

    My mom’s a huge Oprah fan and she ended up supporting Obama after the Oprah rallies. Even convinced my dad to support him.

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