February 2nd, 2012
04:19 PM ET
6 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. KAJD

    doesn't matter. Romney isn't going to win anything, certainly not the White House.

    February 2, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. GeorgeBfromOhio

    An endorsement by Donald Trump ... take that you populists that were dissin' Romney for his "don't care about the poor" comment or his "corporations are people". These are two men that are totally in touch with the average guy on the street. Vote Romney, he will eventually agree with your view no matter what it is.

    February 2, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Pat in IL

    Trump is a one-trick pony. He knows how to bully people and how to turn a dollar in his favor. Other than that, he doesn't have anything to offer. He also doesn't have a significant dedicated following, so no, his endorsement doesn't mean a thing.

    February 2, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Jason K

    "Endorsements rarely sway voters when the candidates are already well known and defined," Mitt Romney is well known, but hardly defined. One week he's one thing, and another the next. Most voters are morons. Everyone is arguing over Coke and Pepsi (Romney and Obama) when what the country needs is an enema (Ron Paul).

    February 2, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a stupid question!

    February 2, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. fekt

    he endorses him a couple days ahead of the primary in a state he's expected to win by a landslide anyway. reason being, he's going to try to take credit for romney's surge and victory in nevada. a largely mormon state that he was going to win without question anyway. way to go donald, prepare your acceptance speech now for helping bolster the lagging romney campaign. you schmuck

    February 2, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. DTNC

    Trump will do anything for publicity

    February 2, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. Debby

    YES the man has money to support him. Go Trump!

    February 2, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Fla.Pete

    @Truth ,why don't you ask the thousands of people negetively effected by Romney and his vulture corporate raiders.He now,Truth,has to explain,he can't,23 money making investments he didn't put down on his disclosure papers.Mr.Romney,say hello to IRS,many of these are offshore accounts,some done illegally.So don't worry about POTUS Obama,your man Romney may see some ALONE TIME.Another skeleton in the Repubs closet....

    February 2, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Nath. A

    Donald Trump is a political neophyte and coward. A flip-flopper endorsing another. I am an independent concerned about the nouveau riche using the word 'rip'. Donald Trump is more liability politically. sad for American politics...really.

    February 2, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Gerry

    Hey, brother rich man. Gimme five! The Donald thinks he's some sort of messiah that this nation can't do without. His endorsement won't help Twitty mitty very much. At least not in my case.

    February 2, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Expat American

    Seriously though....
    Romney better sleep with one eye open.
    I wouldn’t trust a millionaire shyster who somehow can’t afford a decent rug to put on the top of his head.
    (Winky, Winky)

    February 2, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Daws

    How could that even be questioned? According to Trump it's the single most important endorsement ever! :O

    February 2, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |

    What losers! So now he's been endorsed by Christine "I'm Not a Witch" McDonnell and Donald "Birther" Trump. All the more reason why I stand by the President. Willard actually tried to talk tough on China about them playing fair. Sounds like he stole that line from the President. But since he's talking about fairness and doing the "right thing," then why does he have his money in tax havens? That's UNFAIR!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    February 2, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    Makes me LESS likely to vote for Rmoney. anybody that the Don approves of automatically gets my disapproval.


    February 2, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Publius Novus

    Absolutely. I will not vote for anyone endorsed by Trump.

    February 2, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Gerry

    Sure Nevada is going to go for Romney. Mormons vote for Mormons. How frigging narrow-minded, voting on the basis of religion. DUH!

    February 2, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. john cougar mellencamp

    THANK GOD!! I really hope MITTENS WINS. I predict Romney will win be the republican party candidate. Good for OBAMA the easier he will win.

    February 2, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Ron

    Whoptie dooo I guess it is important to some people just remember this:

    Trump told CNN that Romney killed jobs at Bain Capital. “Mitt Romney is basically a small business guy.” “He walked away with some money from a very good company that he didn’t create. He worked there, he didn’t create. He would buy companies, he’d close companies, he’d get rid of jobs.”
    – Trump slammed Romney’s record as governor on ABC. “If you look at his record as governor, it wasn’t totally stellar. His job production was not great at all. In fact, it was the third worst in the nation. There are some pretty negative things with respect to Mitt Romney, which frankly he’s going to have to overcome.”

    February 2, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. works4me

    Trumps doesn't matter... Cains doesn't matter, and Palins really doesn't matter, at all. It doesn't matter to anyone but themselves who endorses who. And it really doesn't matter to those that want to see this country getting better.
    OBAMA 2012

    February 2, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Jake

    a very rich man endorsed by a pretend rich man...who cares!?

    February 2, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. vatoloke

    Now I just want to see how Robme is going to suck up, ahem! I mean thank, the Chump.

    February 2, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Robert Dolente

    Donald Trump is a big EGO PERSON..LIKE HIS HAIR! Now how ridiculous is that?? 3 wifes..how many kids..whatever happened to Marla's child?? Oh sure guess he pays her money.all he cares about..sure he want to be VP like Dick Cheyney and sit around like an A! that Bush should have been impeached for war crimes..he's sickening...9/11 was from bin laden not in Iraq...dumb stupid of all Presidents we have ever had in our country..country deficit..so low..because of him..children killed in Iraq because of him...hate his guts!

    February 2, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Beni

    I'd be embarrassed to get that endorsment.

    February 2, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Elbert

    Seem to be a lot of overly confident liberals ... I mean CNN viewers ... on here! Keep comforting yourselves that Obama has nothing to worry about next fall. In fact, don't even bother coming out to vote in November. I'm sure your boy has it in the bag. 🙂

    February 2, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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