Ooops… Barack Obama’s most famous supporter has taken a dive for Obama. Oprah has been “long considered the “queen of daytime TV,”” and she has “enjoyed sky-high popularity as a media personality for two decades.”
But now, thanks to her support for Barack Obama, Oprah’s popularity has plummeted:
…Oprah announced on CNN’s “Larry King Live” on May 1, 2007, that she would officially endorse her longtime friend Barack Obama for the presidency — the first time she had ever thrown her support behind a political candidate. “I think that my value to him, my support of him, is probably worth more than any check,” Oprah told Larry King. At the time, Oprah did not indicate whether she would campaign for Obama.
Almost instantly, 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. […]
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.
The results of a March 26, 2008, AOL Television popularity poll of television hosts reveal Americans may now embrace Ellen DeGeneres over Oprah by a wide margin. Forty-six percent of the 1.35 million people who participated in the poll said the daytime talk show host that “made their day” was Ellen, compared with only 19 percent who chose Oprah. Nearly half (47 percent) said they would rather dine with Ellen, compared with 14 percent who preferred Oprah.
To be sure, Oprah remains one of the most popular figures in America, but recent data suggest her popularity has eroded. One possible explanation for this decline is that her endorsement of Obama and her support for him may have done more to damage impressions of her than to strengthen support for Obama.
Costas Panagopoulos who reported on Oprah’s decline in popularity on Politico, says there may be a lesson for celebrities in that “political endorsements carry the risk of alienating fans.” Hmmm… I don’t think Bruce Springsteen suffered a similar decline in popularity when he went on the stump for Kerry in ’04.