In this election year of so many "unexpecteds" and "new normals" I've been pondering this question every time I see another endorsement come to light.

"Do newspaper endorsements or any endorsements for that matter, make any difference this time around in influencing voters?" 

Well, turns out that newspaper endorsements -- at least in Iowa -- and with the Des Moines register -- haven't proven to be that effective. Here's an interesting factoid:

Aside from George W. Bush, every candidate endorsed by the Des Moines Register since 1988 has gone on to lose their party’s nomination or lose in general.

On the Democratic side here are some of the candidates the paper endorsed:

-       Paul Simon

-       Bill Bradley

-       John Edwards

-       Hillary Clinton (in 2008)

None of the men or women on the list became the nominee.

For the GOP, there was George W. Bush -- as the exception -- and then there were John McCain and Mitt Romney. Both candidates went on to become the GOP nominees but not president of the United States.

Here's something else to consider ... Are SuperPACs as meaningful a part of the election process this time around? And what about negative advertising? Once we actually know the nominees all of these things could come back into play or will they?