Ahead of next week's primaries, candidates looking to win a little support from younger voters might hope to score some last-minute celebrity endorsements.
It's not worth it, says an N.C. State University professor, who found that celebrity endorsements don't really help and can actually hurt a candidate, according to a news release. The conclusions are based on two studies that included 800 college students.
"In one of the studies, for example, we found that by exposing young people to a celebrity endorsement, they liked the candidate less and were less likely to vote for him," said Michael Cobb, an associate professor of political science, who co-wrote the study.
In one of the studies, self-identified Democrats were told that George Clooney had endorsed a Republican. The Democrats liked Clooney less. The researchers found similar results among Republicans who were told that Clooney had endorsed a Democrat.
Where celebrities can actually be helpful, Cobb said, is by boosting attendance at a rally or other event. Celebrities also could help primary candidates in a crowded field rise above the pack.
Dome wasn't expecting Clooney to weigh in on any races in North Carolina just yet, but Raleigh's Clay Aiken did give a campaign contribution to Cal Cunningham in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Most favor drilling
Nearly two-thirds of state residents support drilling for oil and natural gas off North Carolina, according to the Elon University Poll.
The poll interviewed 607 adults in the state from April 19 to 22, and asked for opinions on the plan by President Barack Obama's administration to open the area to energy exploration leases.
The poll found that nearly 63 percent of respondents supported drilling, and 30 percent were opposed.
The results are interesting but demand a follow-up survey. About halfway through the polling period, an oil rig explosion off Louisiana turned into an oil spill that, as of Monday, was spilling42,000 gallons a day into the Gulf of Mexico, The Associated Press reported.
The poll had a margin of sampling error of 4 percentage points.
Moseley Braun nod
Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun has endorsed Chapel Hill lawyer Ken Lewis in the Democratic Senate primary.
"I know what it takes to defeat an incumbent," Moseley Braun said Sunday in e-mail to potential Lewis supporters. "I have seen Ken's ability to connect with young voters, progressives and African Americans, the same groups that drove Barack Obama to victory in North Carolina in 2008."
Moseley Braun was the only African-American woman ever elected to the Senate, serving from 1993 to 1999. She served as U.S. ambassador to New Zealand from 1999 to 2001, and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.
She is the latest in a number of high-profile endorsements from black political figures that Lewis has received ahead of the primary Tuesday.
By staff writers Benjamin Niolet and Rob Christensen
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