Newspaper endorsements and elections

Newspaper editorial boards that once overwhelmingly backed Republican presidential candidates have become more likely to endorse Democrats in recent elections, Micah Cohen notes at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s political blog for the New York Times.

Looking at elections going back to 1972, Cohen found Democrats won a majority of daily newspaper endorsements in only three of the 10 contests–Bill Clinton in 1992, John Kerry (barely) in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008. But even when Republicans win the most endorsements, it’s not by the landslide numbers of previous years, like Richard Nixon’s 93 percent in 1972 or Ronald Reagan’s 86 percent in 1984.

But do endorsements matter? Cohen doesn’t go there, but notes that the winner of the endorsement race has lost only three elections–Gerald Ford in 1976, Bob Dole in 1996 and Kerry in 2004.

endorsement chart