Mitt Romney is beginning to grab more and more endorsements in his quest for the GOP nomination. Are people really swayed by these?
Will John McCain, who didn’t have kind words to say about Romney four years ago, deliver any votes for him with his support? Jon Huntsman was jousting with Romney days ago and now after dropping out of the race, suddenly thinks Romney would be a great man in the White House. And, people wonder why voters are cynical?
Many people do view New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the answer to all ills, so his support for Romney might have an influence, but really how much?
There is one endorsement, however, that could actually get tip the scales once the Romney-Obama match-up becomes official: Mark Harmon. Republican and Democratic operatives should be making immediate pilgrimages to the star of “NCIS” to woo him.
On the CBS smash, the matinee idol Harmon is the heroic, no-nonsense Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, leading investigations of murders and terrorism within the Navy and Marine Corps.
The conventional wisdom is Presidential races are won in the middle. Democrats and Republicans will have their ardent supporters, but it’s the swing voters – those who can bounce between a George W. Bush and a Barack Obama – that deliver the winning ticket.
Harmon is America’s favorite TV personality for the second year running, according to new Harris Poll results. For campaign managers, that’s kind of a ho-hum.
But delve deeper into the results and the potential benefits of Harmon on the campaign bus become apparent. Yes, Democrats might be discouraged that he rates as the favorite TV personality among Republicans and those living in the right-leaning South.
But, here’s the gold: he also tops the charts among independents and moderates. Those are the people – particularly ones living in Florida and Ohio – who will decide things come November. Win Harmon over and there's opportunity to garner Reagan Democrats and Clinton Republicans.
The poll also shows Harmon has multi-generational appeal. He’s tied for the top spot among Generation Xers and leads among baby boomers and those ages 66-plus (a group that votes heavily). He also would appear to straddle economic lines as the leader among both those who have some college education and those having done post-graduate work.
If Harmon were to endorse, the 20 million viewers who see him each week on “NCIS” would be reminded of his position as he delivers justice.
Looking for hints of where Harmon stands politically is tough. The Federal Election Commission lists donations to politicians by many Mark Harmons, but none living in California listing “actor” as profession.
Alas for a Romney or Obama strategist, not many entertainers are willing to go all Chuck Norris and fervently commit to one political party and risk losing appeal among half an audience. But, Oprah went all out for Obama in 2008 and that didn’t seem to hurt her image.
A year later, she rose to number one in the Harris Poll. Maybe people admired her courage. Then again, people already admire Harmon's -- or at least his character's.