What do newspaper endorsements signify?

In the Chicago Tribune thread I posted about some more surprising endorsements that Obama has gained. The endorsement balance is heavily tipping to Obama.

Add to that list the College Station paper in Texas too. Three of the five Texas newspapers that have endorsed have gone to Obama!

Do newspaper endorsements influence the way undecideds drop at this point? Do they reflect the opinions of their towns? Do they effect turn-out either way? Or are they of no consequence?

Well maybe no one else has an interest in this, but just in case … here is an argument that newspaper endorsements do matter - if only in battleground states.

And a tally of how newspapers have gone so far here for those who want to follow the progress.

Me, I tend to think the newspapers somewhat reflect the tide in their state and help those marginally attached feel better about their choice by way of having the newspaper validate it. IOW I think that a newspaper endorsement helps cement support that otherwise may have been a bit slippery, and the lack of the endorsement allows marginal supporters on the other side to keep questioning themselves. Endorsements in battleground states I think do matter and endorsements that go against the accepted wisdom grain within their readership and against their historic norms signify something really big is going on.

Bumping this for some more data.

So some of those flipping to Obama in particular may matter.

To me, they signify that the newspapers have decided to abandon objectivity.

Yes to some who only vote like sheep, it will matter. Good, more for Obama. The Alaska paper was a biggy in my opinion.

Since when is the editorial page supposed to be objective?

In case anyone cares, an update.

Again, while Phl may demean those influenced by a conservative paper flipping for Obama, or by newspaper endorsements in general, they do at least correlate with votes in swing states. IN has no newspapers endorsing Bush and has one that had endorsed Bush and now endorses Obama. Several others endorse him as well. In a close swing state this matters.

And Ohio has newspapers endorsing McCain to a total circulation of about 550K but newspapers endorsing Obama to nearly double that including 4 papers that had endorsed Bush last time and the largest paper, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, that had not made an endorsement last time around.

And I still get a kick that 3 big Texas papers that had endorsed Bush are flipped for Obama: The Houston Chronicle, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and The Austin American-Statesman. McCain for his part has one smaller Texas paper flipping for him - The Corpus Christi Caller-Times (circulation about 1/10th of The Houston Chronicle by itself).

And yeah, that last post should read that IN has no newspapers endorsing McCain but it is an easy mistake to make! :slight_smile:

In the old days it mattered but not now.

For starters newspapers USED to be owned individually for the most part. Now it’s rare to find an independent paper. So the endorsment is likely to come from the head office, not the paper. The Chicago Tribune for instance, owns the LA Times.

Newspapers also endorse later than they used to? Why? Because corporations suck up to Obama as they see him the winner.

Currently the FCC prohibits newspapers and TV stations from a common owner in the same market. With some grandfathered exception. So a company like the Tribune with newspapers and TV in the same market is unlikely to endorse McCain as he will lose and it won’t help them to lobby Obama to change the law.

Newspapers and TV stations are acting in the self interests

Also remember the Chicago Tribune is under new ownership. It’s owned by a venture capitalist and the goal is to make money, not to publish a newspaper. It’s like investing in Google, not because you want to own a piece of the company but rather 'cause you want to make money

Of course it has previously been pointed out to you in another thread that The Chicago Tribune had encouraged and supported Obama before Zell bought the paper.

But let’s look at your central assertion: “the endorsment is likely to come from the head office, not the paper” and see if it has any factual basis. Well not only do editorial boards claim editorial independence, the empirical evidence backs it up.There is no evidence that corporate boards dictate editorial policy - in fact after mergers papers may even become more divergent in their political POVs!

And again the evidence is that newspaper endorsements do influence votes in close elections (especially swing states) especially when it it is newspaper going against its perceived usual bias. The level that the endorsement originates from does not influence those conclusions.

Add one more. The Tuscon Daily Star endorses Obama. Now mind you they endorsed Kerry and the Phoenix paper is endorsing McCain but still - in a close Arizona tally …