February 2nd, 2012
04:19 PM ET
2 years ago

Does Trump's endorsement really matter?

(CNN) - Just two days before the Nevada caucuses Donald Trump announced his presidential endorsement for Mitt Romney. But will the real estate mogul's stamp of approval mean anything to Republicans?

According to a survey conducted January 5-8 among 1,000 adults, by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, most Republican and Republican-leaning voters say a political endorsement by Trump doesn't make any difference to them.

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The survey found that 64% said Trump's endorsement would not affect their vote, while the rest of those polled had mixed reactions: 20% said they would be less likely to support a candidate that Trump backed and 13% more likely.

"Endorsements rarely sway voters when the candidates are already well known and defined," said CNN contributor and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos.

"In today's world of 19 debates, thousands of TV ads and endless cable coverage and internet commentary, voters feel they have more than enough information to make up their own minds."

Regardless of Trump's endorsement, Romney holds a huge lead in Nevada. The Las Vegas Review-Journal and 8NewsNow poll released Thursday showed Romney with 45% support followed by Gingrich with 25%, Rick Santorum with 11% and Ron Paul with 9%.

And if Nevada is anything like Florida, a last-minute endorsement won't sway many voters from their decisions.

Former GOP candidate Herman Cain announced his endorsement for Newt Gingrich just three days before Tuesday's Florida primary which Romney won easily.

The survey found that the impact of Cain's endorsement also generated a mixed reaction among Republicans - 17% said they would be more likely to vote for a Cain-backed candidate and 15% less likely.

But Trump's endorsement does differ from Cain's.

First, Trump is a reality TV star with nearly 1 million Twitter followers. Secondly, Republican candidates have courted Trump for his endorsement since 2011 when several of the candidates made individual rendezvous with The Donald at Trump Tower in New York to - as then-candidate Jon Huntsman put it - "kiss his ring."

Trump wrote in his book "Time to Get Tough; Making American No. 1 Again" that it wouldn't surprise him if he's the "single most important endorsement a presidential candidate" can get.

The Pew survey disagrees.

The two big endorsements that could influence voters would come from former President George W. Bush and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Nearly three-in-10 (28%) surveyed by Pew said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that Bush supported, and 11% would be less likely. Palin's endorsement would also have a positive impact on Republican voters with 23% saying they would support a candidate who Palin backed and 15% less likely.

But even endorsements from Bush and Palin wouldn't make a difference to most Republican voters, according to the survey. Neither would endorsements by the governor of their state, their local newspaper, or their minister, priest or rabbi.

While Trump's endorsement might influence the GOP race, it will raise awareness of him three weeks before the season premiere of his NBC show "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Also see:

Gingrich hammers Romney over 'poor' comment

Dobson makes surprise appearance at Santorum event

Romney blasts Panetta after Afghanistan announcement

Axelrod: Romney is a 'weak frontrunner'

Romney rebounds in national poll, moves ahead of Gingrich


Filed under: 2012 • Donald Trump • Mitt Romney
soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. simplyindie

    At least we know Mitt is 'birther' free according to the Donald.

    February 2, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Mike from Calgary

    For the reasons that the Donald gave to Candy Crowly in or about April, why would Trump now want to taint his reputation by associating with Mitt "I like to fire people" Romney. Oh yeah .....

    February 2, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Jonathan Pugh

    Can somebody please explain to me why this even qualifies as news?

    February 2, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. rowezone

    Can't imagine why his endorsement would matter. Who would really care??

    February 2, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. pn

    It makes Romney look even more like the candidate of the 0.000001%.

    February 2, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. David Lane

    If i ever considered Romney I wouldn't now!

    February 2, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Leaf on the Wind

    Does the endorsement matter? Sure. I now think even less of Romney than I did before he so happily accepted the endorsement of the king of ridiculous, Donald Trump.

    February 2, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. John D.

    It matters for the Rich and the wall streets for teapartiers like me and the poor we have been duped! time to dupe the establishment Sarah come back

    February 2, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. Skipper

    Definitely a negative to be endorsed by Trump. I wouldn't be surprised if Gingrich paid Trump to endorse Romney.

    February 2, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. NoTags

    Donald endorses Willard. Birds of a feather, flock together.

    February 2, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. SantaClaraGal

    One rich guy endorsing the other.

    February 2, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. TR808

    During the endorsement did Trump mention the apprentice, it's network and time slot? That's what it's all about.

    February 2, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. allenwoll

    From Trump, the endorsement is the "Kiss of Death" ! ! !

    The GoP deserves the nation's hearty thanks for working sooooooooooooo hard to ensure the RE-election of Mr Obama ! ! !

    February 2, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  14. Nick

    Not one bit.

    February 2, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. clarke

    I don't feel an endorsement matters one or another, at least for me. I don't vote for someone based on an endorsement.

    February 2, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. Keith

    Of COURSE it matters, you silly person you. Why do you think Mitt paid Palin to endorse Newt? Newt paid Trump to endorse Mitt for the same reason!

    Romney is an anagram for R-Money. 'nouf said.

    February 2, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
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