Last updated: August 7, 2008 - 11:31am
CAN OPRAH DO FOR OBAMA WHAT SHE DOES FOR BOOKS?
Celebrity political endorsements do not get much bigger than Oprah Winfrey's. But political experts say it is doubtful the popular U.S. talk show host can sway votes to fellow-Chicagoan and first-term Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the way she persuades viewers to turn books into instant best-sellers or adopt her self-help philosophy. "People say that she won't be able to snap her fingers and have Iowans jump," said Dennis Goldford, a political scientist at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. "She will help furnish him with an audience of people attracted to her, for him to make his own pitch," Goldford said. "I think she can sell his books a lot easier than she can sell his candidacy." Three-quarters of the 8.6 million viewers tuning in to Winfrey's show are women, and she reaches 46 million unique viewers each week. More than half are over 50 years old, and older people are more likely to vote. While neither Iowa nor New Hampshire has a sizable black population, South Carolina does, and Obama has been vying with Clinton to win support from blacks and from women -- both strong Winfrey constituencies.
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