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Americans Say Endorsements by President Obama, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Make Them Less Likely to Vote for the Endorsed Candidate

September 9, 2010

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ — If you are a Democratic candidate running for office, would you want President Obama to endorse your candidacy? How about if you are a Republican – would you want Sarah Palin or the Tea Party’s endorsement?

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Right now, the answer would be probably not. If a candidate running for office was endorsed by President Obama, 45% of Americans would be less likely to vote for that candidate and 42% say they would be more likely. Over half of U.S. adults (56%) say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Sarah Palin, while three in ten (30%) would be more likely to do so. When it comes to the Tea Party’s support, two in five Americans (41%) say they would be less likely to vote for their endorsed candidate, one-third (34%) would be more likely and one-quarter (26%) are not at all sure.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,775 adults surveyed online between August 9 and 16, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Barack Obama’s endorsement

When it comes to an endorsement by President Obama, as might be expected, 85% of Republicans, 78% of Conservatives and 82% of Tea Party Supporters say it would make them less likely to vote for the endorsed candidate. On the flip side, four in five Democrats (79%) and 77% of Liberals say the president’s endorsement would make them more likely to vote for a candidate. Moderates and Independents are split – almost half of Independents (47%) say they would be less likely to support a Barack Obama endorsed candidate and 39% would be more likely to do so, while 45% of Moderates would be more likely to support Obama’s candidate and 40% would be less likely.

Looking at this election in particular, among those who say they are absolutely or very certain to vote, half (50%) would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by President Obama and 43% would be more likely to do so. An endorsement also does not help among those most interested in the election. Among those who say they are extremely or very interested in the election, almost three in five (58%) say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the president; with over half (53%) saying they would be much less likely to do so.


                       More  Much   Somewhat Less   Somewhat  Much  Not at
                     likely  more     more   likely   less    less    all
                      (NET)  likely  likely  (NET)   likely  likely  sure
                        %      %       %       %       %       %      %
    President Barack
     Obama                42     27       15     45        8     37     13

Sarah Palin’s endorsement

If Sarah Palin endorsed a candidate, two-thirds of Republicans (66%) and Tea Party supporters (64%), as well as three in five Conservatives (62%) would be more likely to vote for that candidate. But, more than four in five Democrats (84%), four in five Liberals (79%), two-thirds of Moderates (65%) and three in five Independents (62%) would be less likely to vote for a Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate. Also, over half of those who are absolutely or very certain to vote (54%) say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Sarah Palin but those who are extremely or very interested are split with 47% saying they would be more likely and 47% saying they would be less likely.


                  More  Much   Somewhat Less   Somewhat  Much  Not at
                likely  more     more   likely   less    less    all
                 (NET)  likely  likely  (NET)   likely  likely  sure
                   %      %       %       %       %       %      %
    Sarah Palin      30     14       16     56       11     45     14

Tea Party’s endorsement

A Tea Party endorsement, like Sarah Palin’s, matters more to Republicans. More than three in five Republicans (63%) and Conservatives (64%), as well as four in five Tea Party supporters (80%), say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the Tea Party. Two-thirds of Democrats (66%), three in five Liberals (61%) and almost half of Moderates (47%) say they would be less likely to vote for a Tea Party endorsed candidate. Independents are a little more divided, as two in five (41%) say they are less likely to vote for a Tea Party endorsed candidate and 36% would be more likely.

Tea Party supporters are enthusiastic. Over half of those who are extremely or very interested in this November’s congressional election say they are more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the Tea Party. Among those absolutely or very certain to vote, there is a divide, as just over two in five (43%) are more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the Tea Party and 42% are less likely to do so.


                    More  Much   Somewhat Less   Somewhat  Much  Not at
                  likely  more     more   likely   less    less    all
                   (NET)  likely  likely  (NET)   likely  likely  sure
                     %      %       %       %       %       %      %
    The Tea Party      34     16       18     41       10     30     26

So what?

One of the great debates among political scholars is the question of endorsements and whether they can influence an undecided voter. There is a sense that among partisans, it may not matter much and, even though Democrats say President Obama’s endorsement will make them more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate, they were probably going to do so anyway. Although among Independents an endorsement may not be the final decision maker for an undecided voter, it could sway someone one way or the other. And, after looking at these two politicians and another party, candidates in tight races and in swing districts may want to hold off asking for their endorsement.

                                       TABLE 1
                            POLITICAL ENDORSEMENT SUMMARY
         "If a candidate running for office in your district was endorsed by
           the following, would you be more or less likely to vote for that
                                     candidate?"

    Base: All adults
                       More  Much   Somewhat Less   Somewhat  Much  Not at
                     likely  more     more   likely   less    less    all
                      (NET)  likely  likely  (NET)   likely  likely  sure
                        %      %       %       %       %       %      %
    President Barack
     Obama                42     27       15     45        8     37     13
    The Tea Party         34     16       18     41       10     30     26
    Sarah Palin           30     14       16     56       11     45     14
    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


                                           TABLE 2
                                 ENDORSED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
             "If a candidate running for office in your district was
      endorsed by the following, would you be more or less likely to vote
                                   for that candidate?"
                              Summary of President Barack Obama

    Base: All adults

                   Total Political party   Political Philosophy  Tea Party
                         Rep.  Dem. Ind.  Cons.   Mod.   Lib. Supporter Member
                     %     %     %    %    %       %      %       %        %
    More
     likely
     (NET)             42   6    79   39  12      45     77      14       15
         Much
          more
          likely       27   2    56   19   8      27     53       8       11
         Somewhat
          more
          likely       15   3    23   20   5      18     24       5        4
    Less
     likely
     (NET)             45  85    13   47  78      40      9      82       84
         Somewhat
          less
          likely        8  10     6   10   7      11      3       9        5
         Much
          less
          likely       37  75     8   38  71      29      6      73       79
    Not at
     all
     sure              13   9     8   14   9      15     14       4        1

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


                                          TABLE 3
                ENDORSED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA - INTEREST AND VOTING INTENTION
            "If a candidate running for office in your district was
    endorsed by the following, would you be more or less likely to vote
                                   for that candidate?"
                             Summary of President Barack Obama

    Base: All adults
                          Election Interest            Voting Intention
                                                  Absolutely/
                       Extremely/                     Very
                 Total   Very                Not    certain  Probably Will not
                      interested          Interested to vote   will     vote
                         (NET)  Interested  (NET)     (NET)    vote    (NET)
                  %        %          %         %        %       %       %
    More
     likely
     (NET)         42       38         41       33       43     43      42
         Much
          more
          likely   27       29         28       21       28     28      24
         Somewhat
          more
          likely   15       10         13       12       15     15      19
    Less
     likely
     (NET)         45       58         54       28       50     49      26
         Somewhat
          less
          likely    8        5          7        7        6      8       9
         Much
          less
          likely   37       53         47       21       44     41      18
    Not at
     all
     sure          13        4          5       39        7      8      31

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


                                           TABLE 4
                                   ENDORSED BY SARAH PALIN
             "If a candidate running for office in your district was endorsed
        by the following, would you be more or less likely to vote for that
                                         candidate?"
                                    Summary of Sarah Palin

    Base: All adults

                   Total Political party Political Philosophy    Tea Party
                         Rep.  Dem. Ind. Cons.  Mod.  Lib.    Supporter Member
                     %    %    %      %    %     %     %          %      %
    More
     likely
     (NET)           30  66    8      26  62    20     9         64      71
         Much
          more
          likely     14  31    4      11  31     7     6         31      44
         Somewhat
          more
          likely     16  35    4      14  31    13     3         32      27
    Less
     likely
     (NET)           56  21   84      62  24    65    79         28      17
         Somewhat
          less
          likely     11  10   10      13   8    14     7         13       5
         Much
          less
          likely     45  10   74      49  16    51    72         14      11
    Not at
     all
     sure            14  14    8      13  14    15    12          8      12

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


                                          TABLE 5
                  ENDORSED BY SARAH PALIN - INTEREST AND VOTING INTENTION
            "If a candidate running for office in your district was endorsed
       by the following, would you be more or less likely to vote for that
                                        candidate?"
                                  Summary of Sarah Palin

    Base: All adults
                           Election Interest             Voting Intention
                                                    Absolutely/
                       Extremely/                      Very
                 Total    Very                Not    certain Probably Will not
                       interested          Interested to vote  will     vote
                          (NET)  Interested   (NET)    (NET)   vote    (NET)
                   %        %          %        %        %       %       %
    More
     likely
     (NET)          30      47         40       13       37     35      12
         Much
          more
          likely    14      26         20        5       19     17       3
         Somewhat
          more
          likely    16      21         19        8       19     18       9
    Less
     likely
     (NET)          56      47         52       50       54     56      57
         Somewhat
          less
          likely    11       8         10        9       11     11      13
         Much
          less
          likely    45      39         42       42       43     45      45
    Not at
     all
     sure           14       6          8       36        8      9      31

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


                                           TABLE 6
                                  ENDORSED BY THE TEA PARTY
             "If a candidate running for office in your district was endorsed
         by the following, would you be more or less likely to vote for that
                                         candidate?"
                                   Summary of the Tea Party

    Base: All adults

                   Total Political party Political Philosophy   Tea Party
                         Rep.  Dem. Ind. Cons.   Mod.  Lib.  Supporter  Member
                     %    %     %     %   %       %     %       %         %
    More
     likely
     (NET)           34  63    12    36  64      23    13       80       88
         Much
          more
          likely     16  32     5    16  38       6     7       41       65
         Somewhat
          more
          likely     18  31     7    19  26      17     6       39       22
    Less
     likely
     (NET)           41  16    66    41  16      47    61        9        5
         Somewhat
          less
          likely     10   8    12    14   6      15     8        7        5
         Much
          less
          likely     30   8    55    27  10      33    53        2        1
    Not at
     all
     sure            26  21    22    24  19      29    26       11        7

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


                                          TABLE 7
                 ENDORSED BY THE TEA PARTY - INTEREST AND VOTING INTENTION
            "If a candidate running for office in your district was endorsed
          by the following, would you be more or less likely to vote for that
                                        candidate?"
                                 Summary of the Tea Party

    Base: All adults
                            Election Interest            Voting Intention
                                                    Absolutely/
                        Extremely/                     Very
                  Total   Very                Not    certain Probably Will not
                       interested          Interested to vote  will     vote
                          (NET)  Interested    (NET)   (NET)   vote    (NET)
                    %       %          %          %       %      %       %
    More
     likely
     (NET)         34       53         46         11     43     39      10
         Much
          more
          likely   16       31         24          5     22     19       2
         Somewhat
          more
          likely   18       22         22          6     21     20       8
    Less
     likely
     (NET)         41       37         40         29     42     42      38
         Somewhat
          less
          likely   10        6          9          9     10     11      13
         Much
          less
          likely   30       31         31         20     32     31      26
    Not at
     all
     sure          26       10         14         61     16     19      52

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 9 to 16, 2010 among 2,775 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J38557

Q1255

The Harris Poll® #104, September 9, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, Director, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.


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    Corporate Communications
    Harris Interactive
    212-539-9600
    press@harrisinteractive.net

SOURCE Harris Interactive


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