Endorsements Might Sway Swing Votes - Black Enterprise

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Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Over the last couple of weeks newspaper endorsements have been pouring in.  As of yesterday, Sen. Barack Obama has a significant lead with 124 daily newspaper endorsements to Sen. John McCain’s 46, according to Editor & Publisher, a journal that covers the newspaper industry.

What is even more interesting is that 27 papers have switched their position from Republican to Democrat since 2004 when they endorsed President George W. Bush over Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Only four papers that endorsed Kerry in 2004 have changed lanes and chose to endorse McCain instead.

Although individual endorsements and newspaper endorsements are a different species, all endorsements are purposed to compel voters to vote for whom they prescribe. After former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell threw his support behind Obama last Sunday,   Gallup conducted a poll to see if his endorsement made a difference in swaying votes to Obama. While 80% of registered voters are aware of former Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama for president, only 12% say the endorsement makes them more likely to vote for Obama, while 4% say it makes them less likely to vote for the Democratic nominee.

Gallup spokesperson Eric Nielsen says that anecdotally, endorsements, newspaper or otherwise, really don’t swing large blocks of voters. But it isn’t the large blocks that matter, he says. “In situations where the numbers are very tight endorsements may make a difference because they don’t make large swings in voters, they make small swings.”

For example, the 12% that say Powell’s endorsement makes them more likely to vote for Obama doesn’t seem like much, but in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada, Minnesota and Colorado where the election is a toss up it can mean the difference between a red or blue state. So also, could the 4% that are now less likely to vote for Obama because of Powell’s endorsement.

Newspapers are also more tailored to cities and communities and their endorsements could serve to highlight positives or negatives about a candidate that are directly relevant to the specific issues that affect their communities.

The Middletown Journal in Butler County, Ohio, noted that under Bush Butler County hasn’t fared well and that McCain’s record of supporting the Bush administration’s policies led them to endorse Obama.

McCain has said that Obama is not experienced enough to lead the country. The Boston Herald echoed this position in its endorsement of McCain. The paper reminded its readers that McCain reacted immediately to the aggression of Russia on Georgia, but Obama took three days to respond. “There is no room for a naif in the Oval Office,” they wrote.

On the other side, Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin has been the target of scrutiny that caused many newspapers (and Powell) to plant their feet squarely in Obama’s court.

Florida’s Daytona News Journal said Palin “wouldn’t know pre-emption doctrine if it were carved on a moose

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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