John Curtice: Impact of celebrity endorsements

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POLLING expert Professor John Curtice gives his view on the impact of celebrity endorsements on the referendum campaign, in this piece from our Scottish independence site.

“The principal impact of a celebrity endorsement is that (media) call up and ask about what the impact will be. It’s a good way of getting publicity, and drawing interest in your campaign, because the media will pick up on (the comments).

“If you were holding a referendum on a subject which people didn’t know a lot about, then a celebrity endorsement could have more impact.

“Celebrity endorsements can backfire - Kenny Everett’s call to ‘kick away Michael Foot’s stick’, for example - and Alan Cumming’s appearance at the Yes Scotland launch did backfire somewhat when people pointed out he didn’t actually live in Scotland.

“When people know about the issues celebrity backing won’t make that much difference, other than increasing awareness.

“Campaigns will continue to use celebrities to get attention due to the fact that the media pick up on their comments, but their direct effect on voting patterns is very minimal.”

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