Celebreality in Election 2008

You wouldn’t think it, but there is one way this 2008 presidential election looks sort of like the end of the 2004 campaign.The celebrities are coming out early and in full force.

Here’s how it breaks down by candidate (the ones who are still in the game) and celeb (this is a MUCH abbreviated list):

Mike Huckabee – Chuck Norris
Barack Obama – Oprah Winfrey
John McCain – Red Sox pitcher Kurt Schilling
Hillary Clinton – America Ferrera

I understand that celebrity endorsements can bring excitement to a campaign and make people who otherwise may not pay attention to a particular candidate tune in and then (I hope) research that candidate’s platform. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so shocked to hear that not only do quite a few people take note of who throws their support where, but it actually makes a difference as to which celebrity is coming out to officially back you up.

According to a Forbes.com poll, six celebrities “who would have the most positive impact on the image of a candidate with whom they associated were Oprah, on top, followed by Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, Angelina Jolie and Tiger Woods.”

Conversely, the Forbes poll shows that politicians should be avoiding Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Cruise, Madonna, Jane Fonda, Donald Trump and Susan Sarandon.

Interesting. I will admit that I can see how Jon Stewart would have a positive impact (especially because I might be in love with him), and how Tom Cruise would bring someone down. On my part it’s less about which celeb I like, and more about which ones I can take seriously. If I were running for President and Tara Reid began vocalizing her support for me, I would take issue with it and try to separate myself from her as quickly as possible. On the other hand, basing it solely on reputation and acting chops, if Meryl Streep was offering her support, you bet your ass I’d take her up on that.

As for the famous whose support is done more quietly through financial support, you might be surprised to see who’s putting their cash where.

Does it matter that Barack Obama is getting many of the big name celebs behind him? It’s hard to determine at this time. In 2004, John Kerry had a big celebrity backing, especially as the election drew near. Despite a close election, it’s hard to say whether the endorsements hurt or helped Kerry in winning 48.3% of the popular vote versus Bush’s 50.7%.

So what do you think? Does celebrity endorsement matter? Should it? Does it influence the way you vote or do you just ignore them?

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