How celebrities influence the election

The Hangover actor, Justin Bartha stops in Dayton to campaign for Hillary Clinton
The Hangover actor, Justin Bartha stops in Dayton to campaign for Hillary Clinton


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The presidential candidates can’t be everywhere during election season so sometimes they enlist the help of celebrities and surrogates on the campaign trail.

Justin Bartha who played Doug from the movie, the Hangover was in Dayton Thursday campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

Happy Days’ Scott Baio stumped for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.

We’ve had quite a few celebrities and surrogates appear in the Buckeye state this election season putting in some long hours for the candidate they support.

“When those good things happen that you never even see, I’ll know I had a little part to play in it,” said Actor Sean Astin from the Lord of the Rings and the Goonies. He stopped in Dayton campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

“I think he’s a genius,” said Rudy Giuliani, campaigning for Donald Trump.

But does the opinion of the actors from West Wing or Happy Days make a difference? UD Marketing Professor, Randy Sparks says, probably not.

“In the case of celebrities, unless they are in some way related to the candidate or the candidate’s positions may be of somewhat limited value. I think celebrities in and of themselves don’t necessarily carry more weight,” said Sparks.

But he said the effort is not lost. He believes when famous folks make their political opinions known they help the campaign in a different way.

“Where they do become valuable, I think is trying to fire up enthusiasm,” said Sparks.

But Sparks does believe certain surrogates can influence voters if they have a long political record or a certain expertise.

“Particularly when the celebrity or when the surrogate happens to have more credibility than perhaps the candidate has more than himself or herself in the minds of the voter,” said Sparks.

We asked voters this week at surrogate events if these visits will make a difference when they hit the polls.

“No, my vote has been set, probably decades ago actually,” said John Gutman

Instead, we found it’s more of a motivation and re-assurance.

“But it encourages me so much that someone would want to come and talk to our group and encourage us to keep on fighting,” said voter, Sharon Stout

Sparks says it’s important for candidates to have surrogates and spokespeople who are consistent with their image and message.

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