The Oprah Winfrey stamp of approval doesn’t just work on products, it’s also often applied to politicos–President Obama, for one–and, most recently, it appears to be working for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who’s running for U.S. Senate in New Jersey.
Craig Garthwaite, assistant professor with the Kellogg School of Management with Northwestern University, explained on Jansing & Co. Wednesday the scope of Oprah’s influence during the 2008 Democratic primaries that pitted President Obama against Hillary Clinton.
“She is responsible for a million additional votes in this tight primary,” he said, “So she was a very important fact for the success of President Obama in that time period.”
Oprah also out her support behind Booker, including hosting a fundraiser for the Newark mayor earlier this month. Booker, the longtime favorite in the race, handily won the Democratic primary on Tuesday.
“She selects the candidate that she feels potentially a personal connection to,” Garthwaite said. “She has had a number of interviews with Mayor Booker, and I think she is looking to influence the election in New Jersey, if not directly through votes, then certainly through helping him with his fundraising efforts.”
TheGrio’s Entertainment Editor, Chris Witherspoon, attributed Oprah’s political support, coinciding with her movie promotion, to her marketing acumen.
“It’s not a coincidence that her show was so successful, that her books are so successful,” he said on Jansing & Co. Wednesday. “It’s because she knows when to talk about certain things and, I think, make people think about her.”
Oprah’s persistent influence is a testament to her authenticity, Witherspoon said.
“Oprah still has this authenticity and this–a familiarity where she comes across as somebody that we all know, and people feel like they really know Oprah,” he said. “And when Oprah–and which she rarely does–dive into politics and certain issues, you believe her.”