When Oprah Winfrey famously endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2007, she was said to have singlehandedly contributed over a million additional votes to the senator from Illinois. It was such a big move, in fact, that the Pew Research Center released a study when it happened to determine what kind of an impact it might have on the polls. Other studies even called it “The Oprah Effect” because her stamp of approval carried so much weight.
But the impact of Oprah’s endorsement was actually an exception—not the norm. There is still little evidence out there to suggest celebrities can seriously effect a presidential election by simply lending their star power to the campaign. On the other hand, 2016 is already shaping up to be one of the most important elections in history with so many contenders vying for the White House, and a young generation with the voting power to determine the outcome. Celebrity endorsements might actually be that not-so-secret ingredient campaigns need.
Kim Kardashian told her 51 million Instagram followers who she’ll be backing in 2016.