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. john cougar mellencamp

    You know what mittens and t-rump have in common? they both love to fire people.

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

    Who's cares about Trump? Trump...

    February 2, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Joe Blow

    How can it help? Trump is a blow-hard idiot. Romney already had the blow-hard idiot votes tied up.

    February 2, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. firebird9999

    C'mon, this is Trump we're talking about. The guy's a joke. However, given who Romney is, I suspect he'll be pleased as punch to be "endorsed" by a fellow billionaire.

    February 2, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. daryl

    It matters only to Romney since they both want to keep all the tax breaks they can get and "not worry about the poor". They both are so wealthy they have no idea how the rest of the country or the world lives and they don't care as long as they can keep getting wealthier. Trump is famous in his own mind, most don't care about him at all and it probably really frosts him. He buys friends like he buys his ties.

    February 2, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. longtooth

    Trump comes just before GW Bush on the endorsement wish list. Romney looked pleased as punch as he received the Donald's blessing, proving he still doesn't get the idea that the average guy doesn't belong to his country club.

    February 2, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Syd113

    If this endorsement matters than the intelligence if the average human is even lower than I thought ... and I'm not even that bright.

    February 2, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. TAMMY

    Well to me it's another way to get attention! Just waiting for Sarah Palin to come out of the wood work next! He might be the Gop for the Republican party and if and its a big if he were to win the election he still has to deal with the idiotic unreliable Congress that has done nothing to help the current President we have and I feel bad for Obama because of the incompitence of this Congress that does nothing to help this country at all and that he has to still try and clean up what Bush left behind!!!!

    February 2, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. HRPuckinfutz

    Does more harm than good in my opinion. Doesn't matter. The Republicans still do not have an electable candidate.

    February 2, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Ted Ward

    Trump's just workin' it for the free PR, of course. And it's working...he get's free press and some political iou's from the possilble next potus.

    February 2, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. Aztec Phil

    If I were, I would decline Trump's endorsement. According to the Pew Research Center survey noted above, while his endorsement makes no difference to 64% of those polled, 20% say they would be less likely to vote for Romney vs. 13% who would be more likely to vote for Romney. In short, if Trump's endorsement does anything, it will drive away more voters than it attracts. What does that tell you about how people feel about Trump?

    February 2, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. SixDegrees

    Gawd. An unsolicited Trump endorsement. It'd be like having a woman with open syphilis sores on her lips charge out of the crowd and ram her tongue down your throat. But not as much fun.

    February 2, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. HawaiiGuest

    Here's the short answer to the headline.

    No....no it doesn't

    February 2, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. Angy

    the donald is a joke.if willard thinks it will help him, then he is dumber then I thought. donald is a BIG joke. Just watch the tape of the Iifcorrespondence dinner from 2010. willard will be eaten alive in debates with President Obama. this is the best the repucklians can come up with. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!!!!

    February 2, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. anonymous

    After Trump endorsement of Romney. The Catholics are strange creatures on this planet. A smart President should have a separate two men cabinet to deal with them.Then we are on the right way to reform.

    February 2, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Does Trump's endorsement really matter?◄
    Hell No and he just put Romney on the chop, chop platter
    Romeny is CRAZY to accept TRUMPet's endorsement; desperate is what that spells!
    You are the company you keep – GREED, BIRTHER-believer and arrogance – What a sell!!

    Did you see the face on Romney’s wife as TRUMPet Spoke?
    She appeared defeated trying NOT to realize she’s on a sinking boat!!

    The decision Romney made to accept an endorsement from TRUMPet shows you the decisions he’s going to make if he is president. His judgment in this matter was not an intelligent one and if you add that to “flip-flopping with all of the droppings” – he’s “dangerous!!”

    Obama 2012!

    February 2, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. JKent

    He can "endorse" someone with his vote...just the way the rest of us do!

    February 2, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. Maryellen

    No, it doesn't matter, in my opinion it will do more harm then good. Trump is so full of himself I find him repulsive. If he has to make himself so public I wish he'd shave his ugly head!

    February 2, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. Susan

    In answer to the question: I'm sure HE'd like to think so!

    February 2, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  20. blave

    Any one see the anointed ones community he organized...????

    February 2, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. duh

    trump is playing his trump card, so yeah it matters, to him and the rest of the Parana.

    February 2, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Katahdin

    Of course Trump's endorsement is worthless, which makes me wonder why all the Republican candidates made the journey to kiss Trump's ring.
    Not one Republican has sought the endorsement of the last two-term Republican president, GW Bush. Why aren't Romney, Gingrich and Santorum competing for the affections of Dubya? Why are they instead vying for the approval of a snake oil salesman with a ferret on his head?
    Anyone want to bet the odds on whether Dubya will even be invited to the Convention? He wasn't welcome at the last one.

    February 2, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. richard bottomly

    On Trump. One who wades into the corporate slime needs to expect suckers to attach. They do not attach out of love.

    February 2, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. icy

    trump was bankrupt and look at him now. you can love him or hate him but he does now to manage money.

    February 2, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. Santos

    If I were Mitt, I would have refused it. Trumps endorsement will hurt Mitt's chances..

    February 2, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
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