Endorsements of candidates could be double-edged sword

By Lediati Tan

TALK-SHOW host Oprah Winfrey said Mr Barack Obama was "the one" in 2007.

A University of Maryland study found that Winfrey's endorsement was responsible for about a million additional votes for now US President Obama.

In the presidential race here, Singapore's golden girl, Joscelin Yeo, and various labour unions and clan associations have also thrown their weight behind Dr Tony Tan.

But what is the value of such endorsements for the presidential candidates?

Political observer and former Nominated Member of Parliament Zulkifli Baharudin said organisations endorse candidates whose values align with their own .

Although this is a signal to its members, it doesn't mean a block vote, said Mr Zulkifli.

But there's another reason for endorsements.

When a candidate makes a claim to be pro-worker, for example, a union endorsement gives credibility to that claim.

Associate Professor Hussin Mutalib of the National University of Singapore (NUS) said such endorsements had benefited candidates.

"Voters, willingly or not, tended to follow the lead of their union or clan leaders, and many were hesitant not to go along with the Government or official stand on a particular candidate," he said.

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