Entertainers' endorsements of political candidates have long added flair to a campaign, but their importance is hard to quantify. National Journal asked its Republican and Democratic Insiders to pick three celebrities who were most effective at raising funds and bringing voters to their campaigns. In this gallery, we rank the top five stars whom each party wants on their fundraising stage.
#1 for Democrats: Oprah Winfrey
The talk-show goddess was favored by 84 percent of Democratic Insiders. One Insider said she "brings women and credibility; she is a verifier that says you're real."
#1 for Republicans: Chuck Norris
Norris's endorsement of 2008 presidential contender Mike Huckabee was one of the most memorable celebrity appearances in politics. Fourty-six percent of Insiders selected Norris. "We are the 'daddy party' and the Dems are the 'mommy party.' No one makes that more apparent than Chuck," one GOP Insider said.
#2 for Democrats: Bruce Springsteen
As one Insider put it, "When your name is 'the Boss,' your words carry weight." Springsteen was favored by 77 percent of Democrats, many of whom say the singer is especially popular with baby boomers.
# 2 for Republicans: Gary Sinise
More than 15 years have passed since Sinise played the wheelchair-bound veteran "Lieutenant Dan" in Forrest Gump, but, says one Insider, "his care and concern for veterans is real and long lasting." Forty-three percent of Republican Insiders rank Sinise among their top three most effective celebrity campaigners.
#3 for Democrats: Jon Stewart
Although Stewart has never officially endorsed a candidate, his attacks on the media and politicians have ensured him a strong base among young Democratic voters. Fifty percent of Democratic Insiders favor him, and one said, "He captures the angst and cynicism of a generation of younger voters." Here, Stewart interviews President Obama in Washington days before garnering a crowd or more than 100,000 for the "Rally to Restore Sanity." Obama was the first sitting president to appear on the show.
# 3 for Republicans: Toby Keith
The outspoken country star made his case for patriotism after the September 11 attacks, singing "We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way." But since then, his presence in politics has fallen off. One Insider said, "I wish we'd see more of him." Thirty-seven percent of Republican Insiders still see Keith as an effective endorser.
# 4 for Democrats: Sheryl Crow
Crow's lyrics are liberal but not too far left to isolate swing voters, according to 18 percent of Democratic Insiders who ranked her as one of the most effective celebrity campaigners. As one respondent put it, "She manages to support her candidates without annoying the opposition." One naysayer feels otherwise, however: "Left-wingers don't help."
#4 for Republicans: Lee Greenwood
Greenwood's "Proud to be an American" anthem wowed conservative supporters of Ronald Reagan in the '80s, and it continues to stir nostalgia and patriotism, "even amongst independents," one Insider says. Twenty-seven percent of Insiders chose Greenwood as an effective celebrity campaigner.
# 5 for Democrats: Jay-Z
The rapper attended Obama's inauguration in 2009, as seen above, with Beyonce. Among our Democratic Insiders, 15 percent said that Jay-Z is an effective campaigner, ranking him No. 5 out of 10. As one poll participant said, Jay-Z is "great for getting young voters of all races to the polls. And Democrats will need blacks and whites to win 2012."
#5 for Republicans: Bo Derek
The actress and supermodel has been a well-known Republican supporter since her emergence as a star in the 1980s. Here, she sits in front of former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush at the 2000 Republican National Convention, when the party chose their son as its presidential candidate. Derek won the votes of 25 percent of our poll's participants. As one blunt responder put it, her popularity is largely due to the fact that "there are still 'men of a certain age' who remember that poster."
The National Journal Political Insiders Poll is a regular survey of political operatives, strategists, campaign consultants, and lobbyists in both parties. Below are the names of the Insiders who are surveyed:
Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Maloney, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Scott Parven, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett Sarah, Swisher, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.
GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.