Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

O To O: Thanks For Nothing!

Oprah and Obama, the yum-yum couple of the early campaign season! Oprah herself said her unprecedented engagement in politics would be worth millions to Obama, and it may have helped him get a strong campaign start in Iowa and South Carolina, without which he may well have been a well-spoken also-ran. (Sigh.)

But what was the cost to Oprah?

The Top of the Ticket blog at the LATimes has the score, with help from Politico:
In one 1999 survey of the most admired and respected 20th-century women, Oprah (26%) came in only second to Mother Teresa (33%), who didn't have her own TV show. And in 2003 a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll found that 60% thought Oprah was a more powerful woman than someone named Hillary Clinton, a former first lady and senator, who drew only 28%.

Fourteen months ago, a Gallup/USA Today poll found 74% of
Americans had a favorable view of the television personality.
And now, after first campaigning with Obama, and then having the Rev. Wright fiasco illumination? Ten days after the Wright story broke, Oprah's favorables were down to 55% and her unfavorables were about 33%. And:
A December ABC/Washington Post poll of Democrats found 8% were persuaded by her Obama endorsement, 82% said it wouldn't matter either way and 10% said her recommendation had turned them off Obama.

Now, [Costas] Panagopoulos has discovered an AOL TV popularity survey of 1.35 million Americans that found 46% said the daytime TV host who "made their day" was Ellen DeGeneres while only 19% chose Winfrey. Forty-seven percent said they'd like to have dinner with Ellen, while only 14% chose Oprah.
There's more to Oprah than Obama. We have to ask how her show's doing -- are her guests good, are the topics mainstream and comfy? Clearly, having a pregnant "man" on the show hurt her -- but too late for these numbers. However, if she's covering that sort of sensationalistic tripe routinely, she should expect her numbers to drop.

But more interesting: If Obama dragged down the popularity of an icon like Oprah -- and it appears he was very much a factor in doing just that -- what would he, as president, do to the popularity of the presidency and the nation?

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