In Her Political Era: Taylor Swift’s Persuasion Effect

The Change Research Swifties believe that Taylor Swift’s endorsement of Biden this year is not an if, but a when. If the CR Swifties are right, what does that mean? What would an effective endorsement look like, and what impact does that stand to make?

In the weeks prior to the 58th Super Bowl, the focus on Taylor Swift—her Grammy wins, upcoming album, relationship with Travis Kelce, and her potential political impact (CIA-backed or not)—was unavoidable. Even prior to this year’s stratospheric level of fame, Taylor Swift has been a political force, first with her endorsement of Democratic candidates in Tennessee in 2018, and again through her endorsement of President Biden in 2020.

Change Research dug into her potential persuasion effect in a survey of 1534 registered voters, fielded from February 6-8th. The modeled margin of error for this study is +/- 2.6%).

Swift Alone Unlikely to Persuade

This research shows that while Swift may have a loyal fan base, they’re not completely sold on the Democrats or President Biden, and it’s unlikely that Swift alone will persuade them. These voters are more diverse than one might assume and have real political concerns.

The ideal Swift endorsement will speak to both the issues, and what’s at stake if voters stay home or choose a third-party candidate. 

Everybody’s Watching Her: Reconsidering Assumptions about Taylor Swift’s Fandom 

That Taylor Swift draws a crowd—both in-person and online—is an understatement.

Sunday’s Super Bowl is the most-watched program in U.S. television history. Content about Swift, the Eras Tour, and her relationships have been omnipresent for the past year, leading Time magazine to call her “the last monoculture left in our stratified world”. At the same time, she’s often regarded as a white woman’s artist, but Change’s polling shows that this isn’t the case.

Just over 1 in 10 American voters consider themselves to be “Swiifties”, and 37% of voters have a favorable view of the artist (29% “neutral”, 30% “unfavorable”, 4% don’t know who she is). While she certainly is more popular among women, she also has a significant fandom among men. Additionally, she is equally popular among Latinos as she is among white voters. Her fan base skews Democratic and 37% of “Moveable” voters have a favorable impression of her.



Last summer, Change Research conducted extensive polling on the attitudes of young voters, and found that 17% of voters aged 18-34 were closely following the Eras Tour—and this was pre-Travis, Reputation speculation, and announcement of The Tortured Poets Department. Attention to Swift’s tour is most pronounced among women aged 18-24, and AAPI and Hispanic young women, those who are less than ecstatic about President Biden and the prospect for another 4 years.

Swift’s—ahem—reputation has remained resilient in the face of heavy right wing criticism. There has been an 11-pt increase in the number of American voters who have a “very favorable” impression of her since last May. At the same time, her “very unfavorables” have also increased by 7-pts.

Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me? Swift vs. Trump

All of this is to say, when Swift speaks, Americans listen. This is especially the case for her young and diverse devoted audience. And it’s not just her personal life and music. Swift carries significant credibility on political issues and is more positively viewed than former President Trump (despite his claims to the contrary). Swift currently has net +7 favorability, while Trump has net -12, including nearly 30-pts higher “very unfavorables.” 

Change tested a matchup between Swift and Trump on a number of both political and non-political measures to see who Americans hold greater faith in. Keeping in mind that Swift is a singer, who has never publicly indicated an interest in political office, she still performs quite well on some of these metrics. Firstly, she outperforms Trump by a nearly 2:1 margin on entertaining people. Americans are also more confident in her ability to be ethical and honest as compared to Trump. The two are nearly tied on respecting the constitution, representing America on the world stage, and uniting the country. Trump has a slight advantage on successfully managing a business, and has decided leads on cooperating with Congress to get things done, managing the economy, serving as President of the United States, and managing international conflicts (although sizable margins of Americans think neither person would do a good job on these measures).

Among the voters Democrats need to win, Moveable voters, Swift is viewed as doing a better job than Trump on every measure but serving as President of the United States, managing the economy and managing international conflicts, where she and Trump are tied.

Speak now: What do Swift Fans Need to Hear?

Swift Fans are an opportunity for Democrats for two reasons: they tend to be much more open to the party and they’re highly motivated to vote (87% rate than motivation an 8-10 scale on a 10-pt scale, compared to 82% of all voters). If an election was held today, and there were only two candidates on the ballot, 69% of Swift Fans would vote for Biden, 21% Trump, and 10% are unsure. However, if given the option, a third-party candidate presents almost as much of a threat as Trump: 16% of Swift Fans would vote for a third party if given the chance, pulling 8-pts from Biden, 4-pts from undecided and 4-pts from Trump.

Of the third party candidates, Swift Fans have the most favorable impression of RFK Jr. (38%), followed by Cornel West (26%) and Jill Stein (22%). All three candidates have higher favorables than Trump (16%).



Swift Fans’ top voting priorities are core Democratic domains - abortion restrictions/bans, gun violence and mass shootings, the high cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and climate change. Relative to other voters, inflation and illegal immigration/the border are much less likely to be considered top priorities.

The message that Swift Fans need to hear is not dissimilar from what many disaffected Democrats also need to be reminded of:

  • This is a high stakes election.
  • President Biden has a strong record on the issues voters care about. He has made meaningful progress on gun safety and Democrats must be reelected to preserve the right to reproductive freedom.
  • Voting for third party candidates, no matter how frustrated we might be with the current 2-party system is an incredible risk. Either Trump or Biden will be elected and we can’t enable the reelection of Donald Trump.