With just a week to go until the Iowa caucuses are upon us, the Des Moines Register put their clout behind Hillary Clinton as their Democratic first choice, and Marco Rubio as her Republican counterpart. Iowa’s voters are scheduled to place their votes for their picks for presidential candidates on February 1.
The Register cited several reasons for their support of Clinton, calling her the voters’ “one outstanding candidate deserving of their support.” The paper referred to Clinton’s “depth” of “knowledge and experience.” They also noted are success at working across party lines, as she proved as a senator from New York. The Register called Rubio “whip smart,” saying he is capable of charting “a new direction” for the Republican party.
The paper did not overlook some of Clinton’s blemishes, saying she is not a “perfect candidate.” They pointed to her problems with emails, her changing opinions about gay marriage and immigration, and admitted she is not a “perfect candidate.” They did assert that she is more qualified for the job of president than either Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley.
It is not clear whether endorsements from newspapers actually help candidates win. Looking back over the years since the Register began picking candidates in 1988, when it gave its support to Democrat Paul Simon. New York Times data expert Nate Silver said in 2011 that he hasn’t seen much evidence that the endorsement gives the candidate even a statistical advantage.
“In general, I just think newspaper endorsements are kind of an antiquity,” David Yepsen, a reporter who covered politics at the Register for 34 years, said. “What it’s worth is a little media buzz. The media writes about itself and the race kind of moves on.”