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Musician Endorsements of Political Candidates: What’s Your Opinion?

Leading into the 2012 Presidential election, both the Democratic and Republican campaigns have enjoyed the endorsement and support of popular musicians and entertainers.  Bruce Springsteen, Kid Rock, Pearl Jam and Meat Loaf are only a few of the many entertainers who have announced a political preference.  From brief messages of support posted on social media sites, to public appearances with the candidates, to active participation in fundraising events, celebrity involvement has varied.

We’d like to know your opinion of celebrity endorsements during this election year!

If you would be so kind, please take a moment to select the best answer to each of the three following questions.  Poll results for each question are immediately available for your review.

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Thank you for participating!  Are the results what you expected?

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November 6, 2012 Addendum: The votes are in, and the poll is closed. The results are as follows:

Should your favorite musician/entertainer endorse publicly endorse a candidate in the 2012 presidential race?

74% of respondents felt that a musician’s endorsement has the potential to sway votes, 26% disagreed. Of that 74%, half felt that musicians should endorse political candidates in order to influence votes, half argued that musicians should not endorse candidates because of the potential to sway votes.

If your favorite celebrity endorses a candidate in the 2012 presidential election, how will that announcement affect your vote?

It is interesting that while the majority of poll respondents were confident that musician/entertainer endorsements could influence voting practices, 97% of all respondents insisted that their own vote would not be affected.  Only 3% of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for the candidate endorsed by their favorite musician/entertainer.

If your favorite musician/entertainer’s endorsement is contrary to your own political preference, how will you respond?

Of all respondents, 60% said that they would continue to enjoy and purchase products from their favorite musician/entertainer, even if that entertainer endorsed a candidate contrary to the respondent’s preference.  However, 40% replied that they would be less likely to enjoy or purchase that entertainer’s product (tickets/music).

Our conclusions:

Poll sample size is insufficient to make firm conclusions.  However, there are trends within the responses that suggest the following:

While there is a general impression that musician/entertainer endorsements will sway votes, it is more likely that voting practices will remain unchanged.

Musicians/entertainers who endorse political candidates run a financial risk.  If a particular musician’s fans are evenly divided in political leaning, then our poll suggests that 40% of one-half the fan base, equal to 20% of the entire fan base could limit or eliminate future purchases as a result.

Interesting!!

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16 Comments Post a comment
  1. I can’t answer # 1 and # 3 as they are too vague. Famous individuals hves as much right to voice their opinion as I do, but a lot depends on how they do it , where they do it , and why they do it. Far too many variable to answer a poll question for me.

    Quite frankly, I believe I have more of an insight into what politicians say and mean, then most entertainers. I have a real desire to investigate and evaluate ; while I believe the majority of celebrities are lemmings and do what they think their peers would do or what would most benefit their careers. There are always exceptions to every rule and I applaud all those who stand by their convictions , as long as those convictions are genuine.

    November 3, 2012
    • ontapblog #

      Thanks for your comment, cath! I agree that the poll questions are simplistic. It may be that a fan would respond differently if a musician/entertainer simply expressed an opinion on social media as opposed to touring and appearing with a candidate, for example.

      November 3, 2012
  2. Gr8fulheart #

    I was a little surprised by the second poll. Our future depends on the ‘choices’ we make now♥

    November 3, 2012
  3. Gr8fulheart #

    OOPS! Didn’t see the third poll. However; I stand firmly on the ‘choices’ statement♥

    November 3, 2012
    • ontapblog #

      And we’re so fortunate to live in a country where we have the opportunity to make a choice! Thank you, Gr8fulheart.

      November 3, 2012
  4. Those were tough to answer given the choices. While I think it’s wrong to give a political speech to an audience who paid for entertainment, entertainers should have the same right to voice their opinions as the rest of us. But they should use a little taste and the right platform.

    November 3, 2012
    • ontapblog #

      Thanks for your comment, susan. What would be the right platform? For example, should a musician/entertainer use only their personal Facebook page to voice an opinion, or is it acceptable to make an endorsement on their musician/fan page?

      November 3, 2012
      • I think that any platform other than paid for entertainment is fine. While I happen to agree with many of the political views of entertainers, I would not be happy to pay my hard earned money for much needed relaxation only to have it interrupted by strongly opposing views. On the other hand, “buyer beware” can apply to concerts and shows just like anything else I suppose. Emergency ear buds may be good to have handy for just such a case.

        November 3, 2012
  5. Entertainers have the same rights as the rest of us to have an opinion or belief about something (including political) — but the dilemma becomes when & how to express it. Nevertheless, that individual still has the right to express whatever opinions he/she truly has (freedom of speech). There will always be fans or casual observers who are turned off by an entertainer’s personal views — but that’s the chance he/she would have to take. As an academic tutor, I have to tread that fine line — so I emphasize everyone’s right to vote (secret ballot!) — but sometimes I make a general comment about political spins, etc. Note: A concert might be just a disaster relief effort — & twisted into a political endorsement b/c of previous statements & endorsements by that entertainer. But who can truly read that person’s mind to interpret the intent? Life is too precious & complicated to analyze every step that an entertainer takes (& not just in politics).

    November 3, 2012
    • ontapblog #

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Cheryl. You take a generous and measured approach to this topic. In what forum do you feel it is most appropriate for a musician/entertainer to voice a political opinion? For example, Susan (above) suggests that a public concert may not be the perfect choice to air an opinion, although she allows that ear buds can come in handy!

      November 3, 2012
  6. Chris #

    Although I am a supporter of smaller government, and of the right to free speech, there oughta be a law !! Entertainers suck at the media tit and media, for whatever reason, is no longer the unbiased source of information it once was

    November 3, 2012
    • ontapblog #

      It’s so hard to completely exclude bias from reporting, or even a poll as simple as the one here. The phrasing of the questions, the selection of responses provided, can easily introduce bias into the results. I tried hard not to be biased; I promise!

      November 3, 2012
  7. Txsoulgal, Barb #

    A lot depends on the entertainer’s approach to supporting a candidate or issue. If the person is respectful then that’s OK with me. If they are an activist, and I guess we all have an opinion about defining being an activist, about their beliefs, then I boycott them and their work.

    November 3, 2012
    • ontapblog #

      Thank you for sharing your opinion, Barb! I appreciate your honesty. Hopefully, entertainers who share strongly held political beliefs understand that fans could be offended.

      November 3, 2012
  8. ellen8 #

    I agree with Barb above.

    I’ve lived through a lot of elections and always thought an entertainer performing for a candidate did so to support that candidate.
    Today though it seems as if entertainers don’t think of it that way. If they get paid, I guess they don’t care, they could consider it
    just a job, but if they perform for no pay, they are definitely doing it to support the candidate. How do we know the difference so
    it is natural to me to assume they are supporting the candidate.

    I feel strongly about my candidates and what they stand for so, yes, it affects me a lot. I do not spend my money on entertainers
    who oppose my positions, but I might watch them on free tv – LOL !!! On the other hand, I make an effort to support those who
    advocate my beliefs.

    November 3, 2012
    • ontapblog #

      Thank you for your comment, ellen8! May I ask, how do you know whether a particular entertainer’s political leanings/beliefs align with yours? Does the information come from readily available press articles/television or do you have to look harder for the data?

      November 3, 2012

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