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75% Say Oprah Has Been Influential in Shaping Public Perceptions

Oprah Winfrey’s television talk show is coming to a close after a 25-year run, and the vast majority of Americans believe she’s been influential in shaping public opinion.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 75% believe Winfrey has been at least somewhat influential in shaping perceptions of people and products, including 35% who believe she’s been Very Influential. Only 16% believe Winfrey has not been influential. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Women are more likely than men to believe Winfrey has been influential and are nearly twice as likely to think she has been Very Influential. Those who have tuned in to her program feel more strongly than those who haven’t that she's been influential in shaping perceptions of products and people. African-Americans believe more strongly than whites that she has been influential.

In late 2009, just after news broke that she might be moving to her own network on cable television, 24% of adults said they have read a book or bought a product endorsed by Winfrey. Sixty-three percent (63%) said they hadn’t. Women were more likely than men to have tried an Oprah-endorsed product.

Nine percent (9%) of Likely Voters said in 2008 they were more likely to vote for Barack Obama because of Winfrey's endorsement. Twenty-five percent (25%) said the endorsement made them less likely to support the Democratic presidential candidate. 

Sixty-three percent (63%) of all Americans share a favorable opinion of Winfrey, including 27% who view her Very Favorably. Thirty-two percent (32%) view the iconic talk show host unfavorably, with nine percent (9%) who share a Very Unfavorable impression of her. Winfrey’s favorables are up from 2009 when 48% viewed her favorably.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on May 18-19, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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