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The Missing Oprah Bounce

There is a 30-percentage point hill between Barack Obama and national front-runner Hillary Clinton in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, and few said his most recent effort to close the gap, by bringing talk-show impresario Oprah Winfrey out on the campaign trail, would sway their votes.

More than eight in 10 Democrats said Winfrey's endorsement would not make any difference come primary day, and about as many said it made them less likely to support Obama (10 percent) as said it raised their interest in the Illinois senator (8 percent).

According to the poll, Winfrey's outreach will be most successful among African Americans. Sixteen percent said they were more likely to support Obama as a result of her endorsement; among black women the figure was 19 percent.

But among those Obama most needs to reach -- people who are not already Obama supporters and early-state voters -- the star-powered campaign might be a burnout. Among people supporting other candidates, 12 percent said Oprah's campaigning turned them away from Obama, while 5 percent had a positive reaction. Nearly nine in 10 of those who live in states that vote on Feb. 5 or earlier said she would have no impact at all.

To reach potential voters, Obama will have to convince them on the issues (a tough sell when Clinton, nationally, has 2-1 or greater advantages on four that are atop voters' lists). Two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents placed a great deal of weight on candidates' issue positions, while only 8 percent said the same of candidate endorsements from entertainment figures or other celebrities.

Full question wording and methodology for the Washington Post-ABC News poll can be found here.

--Jennifer Agiesta

By Washington Post editors  |  December 11, 2007; 6:22 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , The Pollster  
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