Professor: Celebrity endorsements may not sway votes

Oct 23, 2012, 7:34 AM | Updated: 7:35 am

From Clint Eastwood to Eva Longoria and even little Honey Boo Boo, celebrities are trying to use their star power to swing voters.

Clint Eastwood, a Mitt Romney supporter, gained national attention with his unusual speech at the Republican National Convention this year. Eastwood questioned an empty chair on stage, pretending President Obama was sitting in it.

On the other side, Obama campaign co-chair and former Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria has hit the road to deliver his messages.

And reality-TV child star Honey Boo Boo? While she technically supports “Marack Obama” and she’s never even heard of Mitt Romney, she has been open about her political views.

But do the endorsements really work?

Robert Thompson, a pop culture professor at Syracuse University, said a voter is unlikely to mark a ballot simply because their favorite celebrity tells them to.

“It is more likely that a celebrity endorsement is going to change your mind about the celebrity, rather than change your mind about the candidates in question,” he said.

Thompson said the endorsements may not sway votes, but they can push voters to the polls.

“Celebrities probably aren’t that influential in actually forming how people are going to vote,” he said. “They might have much more of an influence in getting people to actually go out and vote.”

Thompson expects even more celebrity endorsements to pop up in the last-minute push for votes.

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Professor: Celebrity endorsements may not sway votes