Do Political Endorsements Really Matter?

Endorsements are coming fast and furious ahead of the Iowa caucus.

By Rhonda FanningJanuary 21, 2016 11:28 am

Running a campaign is hard work. A candidate’s got to raise money, coordinate staff across the country, work on speeches and much more.

Then, there’s the task of securing endorsements. Often, nobody really cares. But sometimes, people can’t look away. For instance, Sarah Palin’s recent Donald Trump endorsement speech in Iowa. Then there’s Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame telling Ted Cruz that the candidate is “one of us” in an endorsement video.

But do endorsements matter? Harry Enten, a senior political reporter and analyst at FiveThirtyEight, says it depends on who is doing the endorsing.

“Historically, in fact, we have seen a high correlation between endorsements from party officials,” Enten says, “and the eventual vote share that these candidates receive.”

What you’ll learn in the segment:

– Which candidate hasn’t received any endorsements from party officials, and which endorsements seem to matter the most
– The effectiveness of anti-endorsements
– The most important factors politicians should consider for endorsements