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Are newspaper endorsements a barometer of public opinion?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:12 pm - October 31, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Commenting on one of my posts about newspaper endorsements, Rattlesnake, a Canadian, acknowledged that he’s

. . . kind of confused over the newspaper endorsements. Does anyone really care what some newspaper has to say? I recognize that these endorsements are a good sign for Romney, but would it be more accurate to say that this is an effect of the candidates’ performance rather than something that will have any influence, or not?

Yesterday, Ed Morrissey asked a similar question, wondering if newspaper endorsements matter.

They do, I have argue, “do sometimes serve as a barometer of trends in public opinion” as Ace explained in excerpting and analyzing the The Nashua (NH) Telegraph’s endorsement this year of Mitt Romney after backing Barack Obama in 2008:

I’ve written earlier that these flips in newspaper endorsements are somewhat helpful for Romney, as a direct matter, as they will tend to sway some undecided voters.

But they’re also important indirectly as proxies for, as the Telegraph says, the “conversations taking place in kitchens and living rooms across America.” Editorial staffs aren’t kitchens and living rooms, of course– but they’re actually more liberal, and more likely to buy into Obama’s brand of progressivism than most families talking about the question.

The Telegraph editors had compared their “spirited debate” about the endorsement to those very conversations.  If this group of editors decided to switch from supporting Obama in 2008 to endorsing Romney in 2012, then perhaps families across the country may be reaching similar decisions when they wrestle between doubling down on the man they backed four years and the man who represents real change.

ADDENDUM:  Ed links an Investor’s Business Daily editorial finding that “if those major metro dailies that have announced their picks, more than one in five that had previously backed Obama are now pushing Romney, according to a tally by the American Presidency Project.”  One in five have flipped from Obama to Romney. . . . that’s 20%!



  1. Video:

    Steven Crowder’s Redistribution Halloween:

    Comment by Steve — October 31, 2012 @ 8:24 pm - October 31, 2012

  2. Here’s an interesting endorsement from Oregon:

    Comment by spotted reptile — October 31, 2012 @ 11:53 pm - October 31, 2012

  3. spotted, did that paper back Obama in 2008? And check this on Instapundit–

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 1, 2012 @ 12:01 am - November 1, 2012

  4. Not a single Florida newspaper endorsed Rick Scott, our current Governor. I think all papers have endorsed Sen. Nelson. Some of the articles are pretty vapid. The Pensacola News Journal had a short piece gushing that Nelson fought BP for money after the oil spill. They don’t say that Connie Mack wouldn’t but say that he has “little past stake in our part of the state”. No explanation as to what exactly that means.

    Comment by TGC — November 1, 2012 @ 12:21 am - November 1, 2012

  5. Also: I think it was The Ledger had a piece, a while back, in which they were critical of Mack because he hadn’t met with the editorial boards of the newspapers. In a comment, I wondered who cared if he met with the media elites.

    Comment by TGC — November 1, 2012 @ 12:24 am - November 1, 2012

  6. […] reader spotted reptile alerts us t0i a striking endorsement from the Statesman Journal of Salem, Oregon, striking in that the editors […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » If newspaper endorsements are a barometer, Oregon is in play — November 1, 2012 @ 12:34 am - November 1, 2012

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