Republican pundits took to X (formerly Twitter) this week after The New York Times reported that pop star Taylor Swift’s rumored endorsement of President Joe Biden would be “the endorsement of their wildest dreams” for his political aides.
But strategists, marketing experts, pollsters, and politicians don’t think a nod from Ms. Swift will boost support for President Biden as much as President Donald Trump’s allies may fear.
“What Taylor Swift says about somebody is not going to change their opinions about Joe Biden or Donald Trump when it’s all said and done,” Jim McLaughlin, partner with Hudson Valley survey research firm McLaughlin & Associates, told The Epoch Times.
The Grammy Award-winning singer is dating Travis Kelce, a professional football player for the Kansas City Chiefs in the National Football League (NFL). The team is heading for the Super Bowl after defeating the Baltimore Ravens, which heightens the couple’s intrigue during a particularly touchy election year.
The 2024 presidential election is expected to boil down to how five swing states cast their ballot. If Ms. Swift and Mr. Kelce motivate young voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin with a President Biden endorsement, Democrats hope it will tip the race in their favor if he’s their nominee come November.
“Young people generally do not vote in the same percentage as older voters do but when they show up they are likely to vote for Democrats,” political science professor David Schultz from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minn., told The Epoch Times. “More importantly, young female voters especially with a college degree, will vote for Democrats when they vote.”
Elon Musk agreed with former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s speculation on X that a President Biden endorsement will be forthcoming from Ms. Swift and Mr. Kelce after the Chiefs win a posited rigged game.
Neither Mr. Kelce nor Ms. Swift responded to requests for comment.
Ms. Swift is a national sensation with more than 279 million followers on Instagram, alone. A Marist College survey found that 70% of voters have a favorable view of her.
In addition to being a professional athlete, Mr. Kelce is an up-and-coming podcaster who is growing a media brand in association with his older brother Jason Kelce, a center for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
“I doubt Kelce alone would move many voters, but if he is tied to Swift that could be significant to impact the election,” Mr. Schultz said in an interview.
Although the rate of fandom is about the same for liberals and conservatives, anti-Swift sentiment is much higher for conservatives.
According to a 2023 Next Generation Fandom Survey, among liberals, 22 percent express their love for Ms. Swift, while 13 percent have a negative opinion of her. Among conservatives, 21 percent have a favorable view of her, compared to 18 percent who do not.
“Her political history is a little bit complicated,” Michael Lewis, author of the Taylor Swift Fandom data, told The Epoch Times. “When she was coming up in the country music space, people may have thought she was more conservative. I don’t know that she said a lot of political things, but I think the things she has said would suggest she’s more liberal-leaning.”
Ms. Swift endorsed President Biden in 2020 while Mr. Kelce has endorsed DIRECTV and Pfizer, which is one of the manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Travis has done very well this last year in terms of endorsements,” Mr. Lewis said. “Clearly, he has some ambitions. His calculus might be that if he’s getting this big chunk of Taylor Swift fans, then losing some of the traditional politically oriented NFL fans might work out in his favor in terms of gaining more than he’s losing.”
Some 72 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds have a favorable view of Ms. Swift compared to 66 percent of voters registered as Independent and when Ms. Swift speaks, her fans listen.
Rather than backing President Biden or President Trump, Samuel Ronan, a 34-year-old Republican presidential candidate from New Hampshire, would prefer to see endorsements from Ms. Swift and Mr. Kelce for a less conventional candidate, including himself, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., or the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president.
“It would be catalyzing because you would have her multi-million fan base, plus his NFL fan base, looking at this third individual as a person who is viable, someone who has earned their recognition and support and whose message can now finally be heard and brought to the fore,” Mr. Ronan told The Epoch Times. “Endorsing one of the dominant front runners is a meaningless gesture.”
The danger of blindly supporting any presidential candidate based on a celebrity endorsement, however, is that it doesn’t lend itself to much critical thinking, according to David Triana, who worked on the 2016 presidential campaign for Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as a college campus spokesperson.
He views it as just following a mob.
“You could love what Travis Kelce does on the football field, but that doesn’t mean he knows everything concerning politics, national security, and issues of foreign policy,” Mr. Triana told The Epoch Times.
The pair has yet to endorse President Biden but if they do, Mr. Kelce’s emerging media brand could lose its political neutrality, according to Mr. Lewis, who is also a professor of sports marketing and analytics at Emory University in Atlanta.
“Once you become connected with one of the political paths, given the way traditional and social media work at this point, you have to really question the benefit,” Mr. Lewis added. “If you’re thinking of yourself as a brand trying to do sponsorship deals or endorsements, what benefit do you gain from whichever side you choose and what ramifications do you receive from the other side?”
The NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs did not respond to requests for comment.