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The Duchess of Sussex has recently spoken up about the upcoming US presidential election, urging people ‒ especially women ‒ to vote. Taking part in an online summit organised by When We All Vote, a non-profit founded by former First Lady Michelle Obama, Meghan insisted that she will definitely be voting. She added that she was “thrilled” to be a part of the event and said she thought voting was “exceptionally important”.
She said: “If we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem.
“If you aren’t going out there and voting, you are complicit. If you are complacent, you are complicit.”
Meghan didn’t attempt to hide her affiliation either, referring to Mrs Obama, who is married to former Democratic president Barack Obama, as her “friend”.
Meghan reiterated this idea in her interview with feminist icon Gloria Steinem, with whom she discussed female representation and voting rights.
Meghan has joined the long list of celebrities who have been outspoken on the election this year, but some have questioned whether celebrity endorsements are actually helpful.
Indeed, Piers Morgan has claimed Hillary Clinton focused too much on celebrity friends ‒ who often walked out onto the stage with her at rallies ‒ and forgot about the average American, even insulting many of them with her “basket of deplorables” comment.
He wrote in the MailOnline: “I spent a lot of time with members of Hillary’s ‘basket of deplorables’ immediately after that speech, filming various documentaries in states like Florida and Texas.
“To a man and woman, they were incensed by what she’d said.
“To them, it confirmed their worst suspicions that Hillary was an elitist, out-of-touch, celebrity-worshiping snob who didn’t have a clue about Americans living between the east and west coasts, and cared even less.”
While it may be true that celebrity endorsements are not the be all and end all of a campaign, one study showed that they can make a significant difference.
A 2018 study entitled ‘The Effects of Celebrity Endorsements of Ideas and Presidential Candidates’, by Daniel Jackson, published in the Journal of Political Marketing, found that celebrity endorsements can affect the results if the person in question has familiarity and favourability.
In other words, if people have heard of them and they like them, they are more likely to support their position following an endorsement.
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Conversely, however, people having negative views about a person who endorses a candidate or idea can adversely affect the cause.
When it comes to Meghan, she certainly polarises views, but a YouGov poll from January this year showed that Americans generally have a favourable view of her ‒ or, at least they did at the time.
This would indicate that Meghan could have a positive impact on the ideas she wants to promote, eg. women voting, with a preference for the Democratic Party.
According to the poll, 43 percent of Americans had a very favourable or somewhat favourable opinion of Meghan, while 25 percent had a very unfavourable or somewhat unfavourable view of her, with 32 percent saying they don’t know.
There is also an interesting breakdown of who is favourable to her by race and party affiliation, with the black community and Democrats more likely to have a favourable view of Meghan.
The Duchess has previously been outspoken against Donald Trump, branding him “divisive” and “misogynistic” in 2016.
Speaking on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore before the last election, she condemned the future President, who was facing off against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Meghan insisted she would even leave the country if Trump won, saying: “We film Suits in Toronto and I might just stay in Canada.
“Yes, of course, Trump is divisive, think about female voters alone, right?
“I think it was in 2012 the Republican Party lost the female vote by 12 points.
“That is a huge number and was as misogynist as Trump is, and so vocal about it, that is a huge chunk of it.”
She added: “You’re not just voting for a woman if it’s Hillary. Yes you’re voting because she’s a woman, but certainly because Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s paining.”
Ahead of a state visit to the UK last year, Mr Trump was asked about these comments in the Oval Office.
He said he had not heard them before, adding that he “didn’t know that she was nasty”.
However, he said that he thought Meghan would be a very good American princess.
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