The fact that a big name celebrity from the entertainment world can sway American voters in a critical presidential primary is frightening. But then we are the people known for electing our current president based primarily on his likeability – he was “someone we’d enjoy having a beer with.”
Wisconsin economists Craig Garthwaite and Tim Moore recently published results of their study of the impact Oprah Winfrey had on Obama’s success in the Democratic primary. The economists estimated Winfrey was responsible for 1,015,559 votes for Obama, and for increasing voter turnout overall.
The Top of the Ticket (LA Times) reports that Oprah won’t be onstage at the huge media event the Democratic party has planned for Barack Obama’s coronation at the Mile High Stadium in Denver. According to the Times, “The top daytime TV talk-show diva is reportedly afraid she'd draw away some of the natural luminescence of his nomination event that officially starts the fall's general election campaign against presumed Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, who'll be nominated a week later in St. Paul.”
The Ticket reminds us that Oprah has paid a price for her prior support of Obama and may be trying to avoid any further complications in her career as an entertainer:
“But Winfrey's sudden shyness in Denver may also have to do with the fact that she and her No. 1 show apparently paid a price in popularity for taking such a prominent political stance starting last year, as The Ticket has reported here and over here and over here and also here.
“Many of her millions of female fans, who've made her rich and successful over the years, apparently disagreed with Winfrey's decision to get involved in partisan politics for the first time and/or to back Obama over the first serious female candidate for a major party's presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton.”