The Battle For Endorsements

What does the weight of a Powell endorsement carry?
What does the weight of a Powell endorsement carry?

This past weekend marked a big time for endorsements.  Early Sunday former Bush Secretary of State and former military general Colin Powell announced his endorsement for Sen. Barack Obama.  That along with some notable newspapers throwing their support behind the democratic candidate, the Obama campaign has even more to be excited about. 

Not to be forgotten, Obama hasn’t been the only candidate to get endorsements from newspapers.  Sen. John McCain has gotten a few as well, particularly a couple of important ones in battleground states.  But will the newspaper endorsements be enough this late in the race for McCain.  Just this weekend alone, McCain is trailing in that department nearly four to one.  And how can you gauge the importance of that stat of endorsement as opposed to the influence of people such as Colin Powell?

A candidate who can win the battle in newspaper endorsements can still lose the election as we saw in 2004 with George W. Bush versus John Kerry.  But on the other hand with endorsements from the Kennedy’s, John Kerry, and Gov. Deval Patrick Sen. Obama still lost the democratic primary to Hillary Clinton earlier this year. 

But the power of any endorsement cannot be under estimated.  Sometimes the endorsement of a presidential candidate could get widely publicized and gains national attention, effectively making more people pay attention to it and the candidate for that matter.  Sometimes the attention could be local from local politicians or newspaper.  In either case, the endorser already carries a trusted base audience, and with that a power that could potentially sway opinions. 

So while some people say they mean nothing, if an good percentage of our population says that they’ll likely vote for an candidate if endorsed by someone or something they know and trust, that means a lot and the specific candidate stands to gain a lot. 

Not for nothin’, but there are still a few endorsements out there to get, big names that could garner a decent amount of people.  Colin Powell endorsing Obama has a significant effect, probably more so than any other endorsement to this point.  The McCain campaign could benefit from such support instead of putting so much effort in the endorsements of a plumber.

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