The talk out on the presidential campaign trail this week is all about one thing: the “O-Factor.” Everybody is trying to figure out just how much Oprah Winfrey’s support for Barack Obama will help the man become President.
Some pundits believe that Oprah’s rallies last weekend in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire will turn not only the 65,000 plus attendees into Obama voters, but perhaps persuade another 65,000 more to push the Barack button. Other political experts are saying that the good will Obama gets from the Oprah tour will help him raise a few bucks, but little more than that. Still others point to Bruce Springsteen’s public campaign for John Kerry in 2004 and say that celebrity endorsement like Oprah’s, are not only worthless, they may actually cause more harm than good for the candidate. One can turn to the polling data and try to crunch the numbers to figure out the value of the “O Factor”, but even that is inconclusive.
A new CBS/New York Times national poll was released last week saying that only 1 percent of people were more likely to vote for Barack Obama because of his supporter, Oprah Winfrey. And, 80 percent of those polled in the survey said the Oprah factor made no difference for Obama's chances, and 14 percent even said she made them less likely to vote for him. Furthermore, a survey done by the Pew Research Center in September showed that celebrity endorsements in general had little impact on voters. Three-fourths of the respondents said the endorsements of Tiger Woods, Jay Leno, Toby Keith, Angelina Jolie, Jon Stewart, Donald Trump and others would make "no difference" in influencing their vote, the poll found.
But here’s the strange thing: Obama’s numbers in South Carolina rose after Oprah’s visit, at least according to InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion poll taken over the weekend. InsiderAdvantage’s Matt Towery said it’s obvious that Obama's numbers rose because of Winfrey's visit.
“Obama’s support among African-Americans rose a bit over the weekend, while Clinton’s dropped. This follows our poll of late last week in which there was a major shift in black voters towards Obama,” Towery said in a statement. “However, Obama’s white vote has not moved. Clearly the Oprah Winfrey visit to the state moved African-American voters.”