Obama Doesn’t Help Oprah

Obama Doesn’t Help Oprah

Ethel Fenig

What happens when the most influential and popular television star in the nation recommends a book on her highly rated television show? 
The book zooms to the top of the best seller lists.
What happens when that same television star endorses a political figure for office and then goes out on the campaign trail for him? 

Her popularity tanks.

Oprah’s popularity in America plummeted. An August 2007 CBS News poll showed only 61 percent of Americans were favorably disposed to her — a considerable drop of 13 percentage points from a similar survey conducted just seven months prior. An October 2007 Gallup/USA Today poll that showed Oprah with a slightly higher 66 percent favorability still reflected a drop.

The following month, with Clinton still dominating most national and statewide presidential primary polls, Oprah announced on Nov. 26, 2007, that she would go on the stump for Obama. To woo voters in crucial primaries, Oprah made appearances in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire in early December 2007.

Oprah attracted overwhelming attention — and media coverage (mostly positive for Obama) — during her swing through these states. More than 66,000 people reportedly attended the Oprah rallies, and Obama campaign staff members claimed they signed up more than 10,000 supporters at the events and recruited 650 volunteers in New Hampshire alone.

But by the time Fox News/Opinion Dynamics asked Americans about their attitudes toward Oprah in a survey conducted about 10 days later, Dec. 18-19, Oprah’s favorability ratings had dropped even further — to 55 percent — the lowest level of favorability ever registered for Oprah in opinion surveys. Oprah’s negatives also spiked, with one in three respondents (33 percent) reporting unfavorable impressions of her.  

Proving once again that politics ain’t book selling.  Perhaps Oprah should continue doing what she does best,  thus maintaining her credibility for all her viewers. 

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