Can ‘SNL’ Truly Affect Who Wins The Presidential Election?

The history between SNL and the politicians in Washington, D.C. is one that is full of memorable impressions, hilarious sketches, and a slew of acts that happened live in 30 Rock, but are attributed to the actual politicians. Did Gerald Ford truly fall down a lot or was that just part of Chevy Chase’s act? Did Sarah Palin really say she could see Russia from her house or did it come from the mouth of Tina Fey?

The SNL effect on politics is real and it’s never more evident than when we’re in the midst of a presidential election. There’s a good reason why candidates like Hillary Clinton are making guest appearances and Donald Trump is hosting. It’s proven that seeing candidates in a light that is humorous, but also being able to connect them to the characters on the screen, is helpful to their candidacy.

Look no further than the 2000 election between Vice President Al Gore and George W. Bush. According to the documentary Live From New York, Ferrell recalled people telling him that his portrayal helped make Bush seem likeable, especially in comparison to the more robotic Al Gore, played by Darrell Hammond. From Business Insider:

[Ferrell] believed the popularity of him playing Bush on the sketch show humanized the real George W. to the country. He implied that this may have influenced voters to choose Bush in the 2000 election — in which Bush won over Vice President Al Gore by only a few hundred votes — and his re-election in 2004.

The same can be said about Sarah Palin’s hopes as vice president, as Tina Fey’s portrayal of the former Alaska governor truly soured people on Palin (especially when they realized that SNL didn’t change her real responses when parodying her Katie Couric interview). And I certainly can’t think of a person who doesn’t instantly think of Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton whenever the real Bill Clinton is in the media (he will always be Slick Willie).

(H/T Business Insider)