Washington, Oct 26 : A new study by researchers at Washington State University has found that celebrity endorsement during presidential campaigns is an effective political strategy to get younger voters to the polls.
The researchers wanted to determine the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement campaigns in lowering complacency among young voters and prompting their participation in the political process.
It focused on the use of celebrities such as Beyonce Knowles, Christina Aquilera and P. Diddy in 'get-out-the-vote' campaigns conducted during the 2004 presidential campaign.
The researchers found 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.
According to a 2004 Pace University Poll, 44 percent of newly registered voters were between the ages of 18-25, and 43 percent of these voters said they expected to stay involved in the political process.
The researchers found that 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," the researchers said.
"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.