Al Gores endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean will likely have minimal impact on the race for the partys nominee, say two West Virginia University political scientists.
Robert DiClerico and Lawrence Grossback said they doubt the former vice presidents formal backing of Dean will translate into more votes at the polls.
“The impact of endorsements are only of marginal significance in terms of whether or not they would cause people to vote for Dean who otherwise would not,”said DiClerico, Eberly Professor of Political Science who has written several books on presidential politics.
“The importance of this particular one may be even less still because of the manner in which it was done,”DiClerico added, referring to Gore not notifying candidate Joe Lieberman of his decision to endorse Dean. Lieberman, a U.S. senator from Connecticut, was Gores running mate when Gore sought the presidency in 2000.
Grossback, an assistant professor, said he does not think many voters were waiting to hear who Gore was going to endorse.
“When it gets down to voters, I dont know if theEndorsed by Al Gorelabel is going to be that big of a driving factor,”said Grossback, whose research areas include American electoral politics and public opinion.
The endorsement gives Dean some added media exposure and may lead other leaders of the Democratic establishment to support his campaign, DiClerico and Grossback added.
Both professors are available for interviews with the media. DiClerico can be reached at 304-293-3812 ext. 5276. Grossback can be reached at 304-293-3811 ext. 5300.