As in past election years, E&P will be keeping a running tally of which newspapers endorse which candidate. While a handful of papers have already published editorials endorsing either President Barack Obama or Republican contender Mitt Romney, far more have stated that they will not issue any endorsement in the presidential race.
This year, perhaps more so than in any other, much debate has centered around whether newspapers should endorse any candidate at all. We posed this question in our Critical Thinking department in the August issue of E&P, and response was pretty evenly divided. On the Huffington Post, Larry Atkins argues that newspapers should continue to issue endorsements on local races but need not endorse a presidential candidate, citing the declining readership and influence of newspapers.
Of those publishers who have expressly stated they will not issue any endorsement, several have told me they believe that the role of the newspaper is to inform the public about the issues, not to tell people how to vote. If the newspaper is doing its job, then readers should be knowledgeable enough to come to their own conclusions at the voting booth. Others have said they just don't think readers respond to newspaper endorsements in the Internet age.
This year, it will be interesting to see how Obama, the most endorsed Democrat in modern history, does in terms of both endorsements and voter support. Most incumbents lose support for their re-election campaigns, although they are still re-elected most of the time.
To view our most current tally of newspaper endorsements, go to editorandpublisher.com/election
There's also a Wikipedia page listing the 2008 endorsements that's worth visiting:
To have your newspaper's endorsement added to our database, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org