Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Kamala Harris appears to be sitting pretty when it comes to A-list celebrity support, which with the astonishing level of behavioral influence celebrities have these days thanks to social media, gives her a chance to win extra voters and climb the polling ladder.
According to AOL, Harris has taken in “substantial” campaign contributions from heavy-hitters like Ben Affleck, Eva Longoria, Elizabeth Banks, and Empire director, Lee Daniels.
Bolstering her level of Hollywood celebrity support are several other big names who’ve donated to the California senator in the past, before she announced her run for the White House, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Those names include Jane Fonda, Leonardo DiCaprio, Barbra Streisand, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, Ben Affleck, Kerry Washington, and Charlize Theron.
And that doesn’t even take into account the long list of Hollywood behind-the-scenes studio execs who’ve also opened up their presumable deep pockets for Harris.
While AOL called her the “clear Hollywood favorite,” that doesn’t mean other leading candidates aren’t assembling their own armies of Hollywood’s top names. Democratic front-runner and former vice president Joe Biden also has an impressive list of Tinseltown supporters. His time working with Hollywood favorite Barack Obama certainly helps.
Biden has support from well-known talents such as Tom Hanks, George Takei, Rita Wilson, and Kaitlin Olson, according to AOL.
While endorsements and support from celebrities weren’t critical in the past, it’s more important in modern times than ever before. And backing that claim was a study done to prove that “The Oprah Effect” gave Obama the juice he needed to win a tight election with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2008.
According to intriguing research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Craig Garthwaite and Timothy Moore set out to find out just how much of an effect, if any, Oprah Winfrey had when she endorsed Obama in 2008. The television celebrity had never publicly backed a presidential candidate up to that point.
— Dennis Potvin (@DennisPotvinDem) August 18, 2019
The results, in a nutshell, were astounding. The researchers were able to use various data points to determine that Oprah’s endorsement of then-Senator Obama ended up being worth 1,000,000 votes.
Garthwaite, an assistant professor of management and strategy at the school at the time of the 2012 review of the study, explained that 1,000,000 votes were a pretty big deal.
“In politics, if you could guarantee that you could turn a million more people towards your candidate you’d be happy,” he said. “The other thing you have to remember is that this was a really close election. So in that sense I think that a million votes is a pretty important number.”
He also explained that celebrities don’t necessarily need Oprah-level star power to wield measurable influence on voters.
“I think that the effect is increasing in the popularity of the celebrity, which means lesser celebrities would still have an effect,” Garthwaite said.