Celebrity endorsements prove helpful in luring younger voters

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Washington, Oct 21 : Celebrity endorsement can be an effective way of luring young voters to polling booths, finds a new study.

The study led by researchers at Washington State University focussed their work on use of celebrities such as Beyonce Knowles, Christina Aquilera and P. Diddy in "get-out-the-vote" campaigns conducted during the 2004 presidential campaign and found that the strategy can have positive effects on young voters.

Erica Austin and her colleagues noted that from the mid-1990s to 2000, civic engagement by young people fell to an all time low. However, in more recent years, voter turnout among 18-24 year olds has increased dramatically.

Between 2000 and 2004, the turnout in voters within that age group increased 11 percent.

The dramatic increase in voter participation by young people in 2004 was largely attributable to celebrity get-out-the-vote (GOTV) promotions.

"The results suggest that celebrity involvement in the promotion of civic engagement can have potentially positive effects that have both short-term and long-term benefits for the larger community," said the researchers.

"Appeals based on wishful identification with celebrities can increase young adults' belief that participation can make a difference.

"These results therefore indicate that celebrity-based GOTV campaigns may produce real benefits to the political process, regardless of celebrities' grasp of the specific issues at hand," they added.

The researchers also noted that celebrity endorsements continued to play a role during the 2008 presidential primaries, in which Oprah Winfrey helped propel Barack Obama's Democratic Party nomination and actor Chuck Norris helped move Mike Huckabee into a second place finish behind Republican candidate John McCain.

"Overall, celebrities have the power to motivate civic engagement regardless of their own grasp of the issues at hand," the researchers concluded.

"Celebrity' presence and support of political involvement continue to be prominent in our society today, especially during this 2008 Presidential election," they said.

ANI

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