Celebrity Political Endorsement and Young Voters in Europe: A Five-Country Comparison on Celebrity Support Effectiveness in the European Elections
Celebrity political endorsement is an internationally common phenomenon that has substantially increased over recent years. It refers to celebrities who publicly support political candidates or parties, often in election campaigns. Because most studies focus on the United States, little is known about the effects of celebrity political endorsement in Europe. Our study aims to contribute to the European perspective by testing the effectiveness of such endorsements in the context of the 2014 European parliamentary elections. We conducted online experiments in five European countries—Germany, Great Britain, Poland, Spain, and Sweden—to measure effects of celebrity endorsements on attitudes toward the EU and on vote intention. Endorser attributes (political expertise, trustworthiness, and likability) and characteristics of the respondents (political interest and gender) were included as moderating variables. Our results show only a few statistically significant effects, which are furthermore inconsistent with the theoretical assumptions. Given that celebrity political endorsement does not elicit the assumed effects in European countries, we discuss possible explanations for our results.