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. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    According to Trump, it does. For real Americans, not so much.

    February 2, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Expat American

    It does since he wants to be VP.

    So YES!

    February 2, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Not really.... Just another feather in the hat for Romney. Romney will eventually be the Republican nominee which is very bad news for Obama. Obama's 3 year record of failure versus a lifetime of accomplishment by Romney. America has seen and heard enough of the Excuse-in-Chief. Time for REAL change.

    February 2, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Independent in NC

    It doesn't matter, just like McCains endorsement.

    February 2, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. LibertyORdeath

    No it doesn't matter

    February 2, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Alana Delaney

    Trump is a joke and I think that's one of the only things boths repubs and dems agree on.

    February 2, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    T-Rump is endorsing 30 years of republican failure.

    February 2, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. Or

    Yes. Anyone whom Trump endorses is an appalling human being and not fit for office, public or otherwise.

    February 2, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Jerry

    "First, Trump is a reality TV star with nearly 1 million Twitter followers. "

    Whoop-de-doo. President Obama has over 12M followers.

    February 2, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    All these stupid stories about TRUMP?!?! One of the most irrelevant idiots in America? CNN, I stopped clicking your insipid Palin stories years ago. I'll be doing the same with Trump. Give it rest and start acting like real journalist instead of toadies for the new idiocracy.

    February 2, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. karen

    It's "The Donald". He of strange hair and huge ego. Of course it doesn't matter.

    February 2, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Walt

    I don't know why anyone would support Romney!! This man can't possibly identify with middle and low income Americans. What does he have in common with us? I think a precondition to a viable candate should be that his income should be under $100,000 a year.

    February 2, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Dixie Independent voter

    Some endorsements are the kiss of death. Trump, Cain, and Todd Palin to name a few.

    February 2, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. A Progressive View

    I guess Romney has now had two bad days in a row!!!

    February 2, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. turingskj

    Yes, it matters in that I dislike them more...

    February 2, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Sollie

    Trump is a egotistical windbag and his endorsement of Romney will do Romney more harm then good.

    February 2, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. Donald in CA

    It will only matter to the losers who follow donald thump. But some politicians feel the need to keep kissing this guys ring.

    February 2, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Nurul Aman

    Donald Trump's endorsement to Romney is a red flag for Romney's campaign. He will lose more voters.

    February 2, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    It does because it shows the company you keep. Romney is a big fat one-percenter as is Trump. They both want to make sure those tax breaks stay in place for the wealthy.

    February 2, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. ARALE NORIMAKI

    Donald Trump is a hypocrite and an idiot. His clothing/tie line is all made in China. But nobody buys his stuff so few people know about it. That's why he can go on TV and talk with his big mouth
    '

    February 2, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I cannot believe that Romney could be endorsed by a more worthless tool. What appeals to T-Rump is the tax evasion, the corporate raiding, the Swiss bank accounts, 13.% tax rate, job destruction in the US, job creation overseas, corporations are people too, and the billion dollars that the Kochs, Rove and the swift boaters are going to spend on negative attack ads against our president.

    February 2, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Ricardo

    Donald trump has no personality, so what?

    February 2, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Mark

    It only matters in the sense that it means Trump won't be doing something silly like a 3rd party bid.

    February 2, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Rmoney, like his entire GOBP deathcult, care for the greedy and not the needy. Of course Trump will endorse the psychopathic predator who shares his views and can deliver the most cash and power.

    February 2, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Mindy

    Trump's endorsement doesn't matter one fig!

    February 2, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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