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. jlf

    i feel Romney is now doomed more than ever-now it's two flip-loppers instead of one.. Trump is known for being an egotistical,self-centered blowhard who always has an alterior motive for his actions; it's always about HIM and how convenient that this endorsement comes just a few weeks before his celebrity apprentice show. i have never figured out why the networks always go to him asking his thoughts about the economy and poilitics...he is not an economist pr a politician so his words are irrevelavent so why give him the floor !!!!!!

    February 2, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. Faith Dolente

    Well, suppose our comments are not valid on this site..I agree w/my husband...100%...shame on you people...so much for "freedom of speech" PRINT THIS ONE...GO AHEAD..I DARE YOU>

    February 2, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Voter

    20% less likely. lol.

    February 2, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Elbert

    Walt :"I think a precondition to a viable candate should be that his income should be under $100,000 a year."

    In that case you don't think Obama is qualifed to run either correct?

    February 2, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. simplyindie

    no it doesn't matter if Trump gave a endorsement. Some hams never get enough lines or face shots

    February 2, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. SafeJourney

    It will hurt Romney to be associated with Trump. He is a JOKE.

    February 2, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Romney has just sewn up the birther vote, even though Mittens may be an anchor baby.

    February 2, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. David M.

    Obama got in Office to make his self RICH....He made CEO's rich with the Stimulas. Mitt Romney wants office to make his self RICHER....and the media backs him, cause he makes TV richer......What does it matter when another RICH man comes out and says he is voting for the RICH MAN ???? If you vote for anybody other than Newt Gingrich is a vote for corruption and continued unethical politicians. Newt is a man that loves this country so much he became an American History Professor...abolished Welfare as we knew it in the '90's, therefore making Democratic enemies, and got out of politics altogether for 10 years. It only makes sense to VOTE for Newt.....If you dont I guess that makes you stupid and anti-american....

    February 2, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. livingston

    I think that it matters. Just not in the way they hoped!

    February 2, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Mark

    I'm shocked. A millionaire endorsing another millionaire? Ha Ha. These guys are really in love with themselves.

    February 2, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. QS

    Let's not limit this "significance" issue to just Trump.....no endorsement from anybody for any of the conservative party candidates will make a bit of difference in the end.

    February 2, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Elbert

    Does watching CNN actually make people stupid? Or do stupid people just naturally gravitate to CNN? Hmm... something to ponder.

    February 2, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Yikes! I think Romney may had made a mistake by associating himself with the male version of Sarah Palin.

    February 2, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Karen

    Who cares what that meathead thinks.

    February 2, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. cashmeremafia

    As the article states, with so much media coverage, the voters have more than enough information to make up their minds without an endorsement. Plus, Nevada has a sizable Mormon population, so it's a shoe-in for Romney.

    February 2, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    No freedom in America unless we have economic strength! As soon as Romney gets elected, money will flow instantly from banks to small business. Yes, Romney will repeal Obama care. Business like Romney's pro business stances.

    February 2, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. MNTaxpayer

    What an irrelevant boob.

    February 2, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. kinglywarrior

    Why would the endorsement of someone America has already decided is not qualified, is an embarrassment or is irrelevant, matter? Or even be seen as a positive? Why are any of these endorsements seen as anything but PR moves by the endorser? Is Herman Cain's vote of confidence REALLY a positive for your campaign? Trump? Cmon...

    February 2, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. David M.

    Both of them hate the poor and LOVE to say YOUR FIRED

    February 2, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. You're Fired

    Donald Trump has bankrupted how many companies now? How many times has he paid off Unions? How many times has he been married? How much money is he currently not paying taxes on?

    Sounds like a Republican candidate to me.

    February 2, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Elyse

    An endorsement from someone I have no respect for matters not.

    February 2, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Steven Colo

    Gingrich managed to paint Romney as the robber baron that slashed jobs and reaped millions from laying off. Trump's endorsement just feeds that. Trump's not exactly a cartoon character, but close.

    And Gingrich thought he could count on the "arrogant dude with affairs and multiple wives" endorsement.

    February 2, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Chad%Biff

    Romney looks like a fool.

    February 2, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. AZMN

    The GOP is a circus of epic proportions!!!

    February 2, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. unsub

    was that a teleprompter i saw Mittens reading from in Florida?

    February 2, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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