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Political endorsements ‘probably do not matter much’ in Obama, Romney election

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

During an election season, everyone from celebrities to athletes endorse presidential candidates. The big question that remains is this: Who cares?

Two OSU professors said the effect of these endorsements is minimal.

“They may be good for a press release on the day it happens,” said John Kessel, an Ohio State political science professor.

OSU political science professor Paul Beck agreed, and said the endorsements don’t have too much effect on most voters.

“They probably do not matter much, unless they are surprises,” he said

Recently, Colin Powell, a retired general and former secretary of state for the Bush administration, endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election this year. Powell had endorsed Obama in 2008.

“An endorsement from Colin Powell is important for Obama,” Beck said. “He commands an enormous amount of respect.”

Powell’s endorsement was also significant because of his affiliation with the Republican party and his influence among African-American voters, Beck said.

However, Kessel said he does not think Powell’s endorsement will sway many voters.

“I thought his reasoning was good,” he said. “But I doubt it would have much impact.”

Most people have already made up their minds, and in the end, Powell’s endorsement will not be effective on its own, Kessel said.

Ismail Adan, a third-year in exploration, said political endorsements are not a factor in his decision.

“Not at all,” he said.

Adan, a Ron Paul supporter, said he is not sure whether he will be voting in this election.

Powell announced his endorsement on Oct. 25 on “CBS This Morning.”

“Well you know I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012, and I’ll be planning to vote for he and for Vice President Joe Biden,” said Powell on the show.

The economy and foreign policy issues were among the reasons that Powell re-endorsed the president.

“I saw over the next several years, stabilization come back in the financial community, housing is now starting to pick up after four years … consumer confidence is rising,” Powell said. “I also saw the president get us out of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars.”

The former secretary of state said the country is making a comeback.

“Generally we’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude,” he said.

Obama’s handling of the economy is another important factor in Powell’s endorsement, Beck said.

Powell expressed his approval for the president on doing a “very, very solid” job of protecting Americans from terrorism.

Powell said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s economic plan is to “‘cut taxes and compensate for that with other things,’ but that compensation does not cover all of the cuts intended.”

Romney’s foreign policy was also of some concern for Powell.

“I’m not quite sure which Gov. Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy,” he said. “And so, I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on.”

Obama is scheduled to speak at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard, Ohio on Friday before continuing on to stops in Springfield, Ohio and Lima, Ohio. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Obama is also scheduled to return to Columbus on the final day of campaigning Monday with Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen, but further details about the event had not been released Thursday evening.

Romney and his wife Ann Romney are also scheduled to make a stop in Columbus Monday at Landmark Aviation on E. 5th Avenue. That event is scheduled to be open to the public at 4 p.m.

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