February 2nd, 2012
04:19 PM ET
3 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. Terry G

    Now I know Trump has gone over the edge!

    February 2, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. Larry in Houston

    "the Donald " Just sealed the deal for Romney – Romney will be our next prez, period.

    Larry IN Houston

    February 2, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  3. thom

    No, the endorsement doesn't matter. Who cares about Trump?

    February 2, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. Willie Floyd

    They deserve each other-birds of a feather flock together!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012/WARREN-SOON TO FOLLOW

    February 2, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Sonya

    Mo money, mo money. It's all about the money

    February 2, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. Stefan Bajkai

    Is this a Trump's new joke?

    February 2, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. Alex

    It matters only insofar as it reduces the chances of Trump running as an independent candidate. Which is good news for the GOP because if they do want to win in November they can't afford to split the conservative vote.

    February 2, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Raye

    Who cares...why is Trumph suddenly envolved n EVERYTHG? Does he own the Gov. Lol wont effect my vote.

    February 2, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. TheTraveler

    Not for this voter it doesn't ...

    February 2, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. franco123

    How low can Romney go for the commander and chief birther Trump to indorse him,Orly Taitz must be having a rude awakening for her successor D.Trump to be the first to indorse Romney.what an embarrassment it must be for the GOP.to let this ludicrous approach continue.

    February 2, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. M.K.

    Putting this charlatan behind a podium with four American flags displayed is too much. He would endorse Adolph Hitler if there was something in it for him. CNN should stop glorifying the candidates and just report the news. Trump and Romney goes together because both are ego maniacs.

    February 2, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. DannyL

    LOL! No it doesn't matter.

    February 2, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. ted roberts

    why dosen't donald trump just stay in his plosh pad,count his money,an be quiet..i don't care what he has to say,not to many other poor people like me care either...an whats up with his hair???

    February 2, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. John

    Hell No It doesn't matter who Donald Trump endorse, don't believe 2/3 of what he said anyway. He mostly just a bunch of hot air that like to run Is mouth. If It does anything It will hurt Mitt Romney more than It will help.

    February 2, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. jlf

    Trump is such a flip-flopper like Romney. what is an Independent (trump left the Republican party in dec 2011 so he could runfor president if he didn't like who the republicans picked to run against Obama) doing endorsing a Republican? neither is to be trusted!!!!!

    February 2, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Harry Baxter

    Sure it matters, and all in a negative way. Before the endorsement, There was only one in a thousand chance that I'd vote for Mitt. The odds are now about one in a trillion.

    February 2, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. sloop

    What a poor excuse for a human being. He's a joke.

    February 2, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. carol

    i hope it does hurt this fool to have trumps endorsement,did anyone catch his statement how he was not worried about the poor,is he kidding there are so many that are homeless ,starving,and sick. that just shows you what he,s for,under all that phoney smiles and he lets slip who he really is,and newt is the same.

    February 2, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. bob

    End the TSA, and foreign aid Ron Paul 2012 :)

    February 2, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Capt. Obvious

    The Donald also endorses hair care that would require Moroni's magical glasses to appreciate. At least NOW voters can see who the ONLY serious candidate is, VOTE RON PAUL !

    February 2, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Jo Jo

    Nope, it does not matter one bit. The only thing the donald's endorsement means is he went grovelling to Romney begging for a couple of millions. He told Mitt, "With my brand and your millions, we could go far." Unfortunately, Mitt fell for it and padded his pockets with a few millions. Again, just goes to show how out of touch Mitt is to actually believe Trump would sway voters to his side.

    February 2, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. cynrey

    It doesn't matter to anyone except Trump- a legend in his own mind

    February 2, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. carol

    bless you tammy for telling it like it is bush sat on his thumbs and messed things ,and the republicans don,t want anyone to say it, they blame obama. but you can,t dance around it phoneys even some republicans jumped ship on him.

    February 2, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. Steve

    It would seem like it would hurt more than it would help.

    February 2, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    maybe now since Mitt and Trump are buddy buddy the Donald can tell him what happened to those "troops he had on the ground" in Hawaii looking for Obama's birth certificate, I think those troops are the same ones OJ hired to find the real killers!

    February 2, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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