Do endorsements matter?

How much do endorsements matter in campaigns?

How much do endorsements matter in campaigns?

Candidates often fret over endorsements. There are a few endorsements that matter and a lot that don't. Focus on the ones that do - and more importantly, focus on WHY they matter. 

Endorsements that matter:

The local newspaper. The endorsement of the local newspaper becomes less and less important as more people watch national news and get their news from partisan websites, but it still matters. Because city and county races are 

The REALTORS. This is more of a catch-all category - REALTORS, building industry, teacher's union, etc. These endorsements matter because their endorsements come with a check, independent expenditures, emails to their members on your behalf and volunteers. If they don't come with those, they don't matter. 

Voters with a yard sign. I'm not a fan of yard signs, but there's one way in which they can be meaningful. When they're planted in the front yard of your neighbor, they mean something. That endorsement says something about whether your candidacy is worth supporting. A random yard sign in a median does not. 

Endorsements that don't matter: 

Incumbent or retired politicians. They may be able to raise some money for you - and if they're willing and able to raise a lot of money for you, they matter. But for the most part, people don't take advice on how to vote from politicians they like. They take advice from close friends and family, if anyone at all. 

Random voters that sign their endorsement on your webpage. Candidates love to write up a list of dozens or hundreds of endorsers and put it on their website. The endorsers might appreciate it, but voters don't care. 

Local celebrities. They  may be able to pitch car dealerships and local banks, but don't worry about getting their endorsement for your campaign.

Here's a Washington Post article from a a few years back that expands on the point. The takeaway: don't sweat endorsements. 

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