I’ve never had anyone tell me that they voted for anyone based on an endorsement, yet much is being made this morning of the Manchester Union-Leader endorsing Newt Gingrich instead of Mitt Romney. Part of the reason is that it’s the largest paper in the state where the first primaries will be held, but the choice shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone who knows the U-L’s conservative history.
I’d like to see some intrepid media reporter (hello, David Carr?) analyze whether any newspaper’s endorsement carries real weight these days, as well as checking past elections to determine whether those endorsements: a) helped candidates gain votes; and b) served as any kind of predictor of who would win. In the case of the Union-Leader, they haven’t had much effect. Only twice in the last 40 years has it endorsed the eventual Republican nominee — Ronald Reagan in 1980 and John McCain in 2008. In other presidential elections, the paper threw its weight behind also-rans Steve Forbes (2000), Pat Buchanan (1996 and 1992), Pete Dupont (1988), and John Ashbrook (1972).
While you’re at it, how about researching the endorsements made by politicians themselves? Does getting the thumbs-up from an incumbent (or former) office-holder do anything positive for a campaign? I’d bet the impact is much less than that of big donations and Super PAC special-interest money.