IN CLOSE ELECTION, PRESS ENDORSEMENTS MAY COUNT

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Pollster: Newspapers May Sway Undecided Voters





CHICAGO – With the U.S. presidential race entering its final weeks too close to call, newspaper candidate endorsements will make a real difference for the first time in decades, pollster John Zogby says.



“Newspapers traditionally don’t make that much of a difference on the top-of-the-ticket races – as they do in the ones at the bottom, such as judges or court clerks,” Zogby said last week at the Inland Press Association’s 115th annual meeting in Chicago. “But in an election this close, anything can make a big difference. You [newspapers] will have an effect on whether people bother to vote, or you may sway those who are undecided.”



If the pattern of past decades holds, however, fewer papers than ever will be wielding the power of a presidential endorsement. In the 60 years that E&P has tracked newspaper endorsements, the number of daily papers declining to make a choice as a matter of policy or indecision has increased dramatically. And a recent TIPP poll for E&P found only 5% of likely voters claiming that they could be swayed by a newspaper endorsement.



E&P’s survey of newspaper endorsements will be released in early November.



Zogby’s Utica, N.Y.-based Zogby International has become one of the nation’s hottest polling firms since precisely predicting the outcome of the 1996 presidential election.







Mark Fitzgerald (mfitzgerald@editorandpublisher.com) is editor at large for E&P.







Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.

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