Do Newspaper Endorsements Matter?
Experts, voters doubt it
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 29, 2012 9:01 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at the Celina Fieldhouse in Celina, Ohio, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Both presidential candidates are racking up endorsements as the election draws near, prompting the AP to wonder whether editorial boards' selections do much to sway voters these days. Says a political scientist: "The short answer is no." Still, "at this stage in the campaign, you're looking for every edge you can get, even if it's a microscopic edge," he notes. A swing voter in Florida—where the Orlando Sentinel backs Mitt Romney and the Tampa Bay Times supports President Obama—doubts the endorsements have "any influence at all."

When papers already have a history of leaning left or right, "I discount it, because I think, `Of course they're endorsing that candidate," she says. But "if a traditionally left paper endorses Romney, or a traditionally right paper endorses Obama, that matters, because people go, 'Huh, that's curious,'" says a Republican strategist. Case in point: The Des Moines Register's support for Romney. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which isn't endorsing a candidate, calls such endorsements "a relic of a time when every town had more than one newspaper." But plenty of newspapers are still making their cases: Yesterday saw 10 endorsements for Obama, including swing-state rags the Detroit Free Press and Toledo Blade, and 14 for Romney, among them the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Florida Times-Union.

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
Oct 30, 2012 6:18 PM CDT
Depends...Some papers only endorse GOP or Democrats...But when they switch, as the Des Moines Register, Iowa's largest newspaper, when it endorsed Mitt Romney, delivering a blow to President Barack Obama.
Oct 29, 2012 5:41 PM CDT
Are newspapers still around? I didn't know that.
Oct 29, 2012 1:12 PM CDT
Right, right....Polls matter when Obama leads, they are irrelevant when he is down....Newspapers that have endorsed a Democrat for the last 40 years, endorses Romney, it doesn't matter either.