Entries in Newspaper Endorsement (1)


Newspaper Endorsements Provide Boosts, But Not Necessarily Wins

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich just snagged the endorsement of arguably the most prominent newspaper in one of the most influential primary states. But newspaper endorsements aren’t what they used to be.

“Newspapers are in a decline, so obviously they don’t have as much clout now,” said Robert Erikson, a professor of political science at Columbia University. “They used to be more influential.”

The practice of editorial board endorsements stretches back to the dawn of American politics, but while endorsements tend to boost a presidential candidate’s poll numbers, they seem to have little effect on whether that candidate will win their party’s nomination, let alone the general election.

Take the Manchester Union Leader, the newspaper that threw its weight behind Gingrich this past weekend. Of the six candidates the Union Leader endorsed in the Republican primary since 1980, half have gone on to win the New Hampshire primary, and two became the eventual nominee, according an analysis by the New York Times’ Nate Silver.

But while a nod of approval from the first-in-the-nation state’s most prominent newspaper does not necessarily propel candidates to electoral success, it does give them a boost in the polls. All six of the endorsees did significantly better in the primary than they were doing in polls at the time of the endorsement, improving, on average, 11 points between the endorsement and the primary election, Silver finds in his analysis.

Chris Arterton, a  political management professor at George Washington University, said the timing of the endorsement, the newspaper’s reputation and how visible the race is make a huge difference on whether an editorial board’s endorsement makes a splash or is just another drop in the bucket.

Arterton said that because the GOP primary has been so volatile, with a new front runner every month, an endorsement from an influential newspaper, especially one in an early primary state, could help solidify Gingrich as more than just the latest anti-Mitt Romney Republican option.

“If Gingrich does begin to look like, let’s say, more than just the candidate of the month,” Arterton said, “I think conservative donors nationally who might have been sitting on the sidelines and not terribly comfortable with Romney may be induced by this to jump in and make contributions.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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