Oprah Wnfrey, the Most Important Person in the Universe, allied herself with a young non-gelded black man (sorry Stedman) and is paying the price:
Costas Panagopoulos, director of Fordham University’s Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy, has studied Oprah Winfrey’s popularity polls over the years and found that her ratings “plummeted” after endorsing Barack Obama — “almost instantly.”
Panagopoulos chronicles nearly two decades of “sky high” approval for Winfrey, who was consistently among the most popular woman in the country. Then, in May 2007, she announced her endorsement of Obama.
Almost instantly, Oprah’s popularity in America plummeted. An August 2007 CBS News poll showed only 61 percent of Americans were favorably disposed to her — a considerable drop of 13 percentage points from a similar survey conducted just seven months prior. An October 2007 Gallup/USA Today poll that showed Oprah with a slightly higher 66 percent favorability still reflected a drop.
In late November, she announced she would actively campaign for Obama and then did so.
But by the time Fox News/Opinion Dynamics asked Americans about their attitudes toward Oprah in a survey conducted about 10 days later, Dec. 18-19, Oprah’s favorability ratings had dropped even further — to 55 percent — the lowest level of favorability ever registered for Oprah in opinion surveys. Oprah’s negatives also spiked, with one in three respondents (33 percent) reporting unfavorable impressions of her.
The results of a March 26, 2008, AOL Television popularity poll of television hosts reveal Americans may now embrace Ellen DeGeneres over Oprah by a wide margin. Forty-six percent of the 1.35 million people who participated in the poll said the daytime talk show host that “made their day” was Ellen, compared with only 19 percent who chose Oprah. Nearly half (47 percent) said they would rather dine with Ellen, compared with 14 percent who preferred Oprah.
Which means that lesbian is the new black.
Actually I think that Panagopoulos failed to factor in the delayed Dr. Phil Is A Douchebag equation to arrive at his conclusions, all though there is certainly a body of research that would indicate that some celebrities do see a drop in popularity when taking strong positions. In fact, Pat Boone (such a nice young man, so clean and respectful) has seen quite a drop in the sales of his long playing recordings in recent years, possibly because he has been getting so "political".
Fortunately for Oprah, she has can still use the guidance provided to her by Jon Swift. It may not save her career, but then she could always end up with a gig at the AEI where all the other unemployable miserable failures land.