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. karen

    It's a no brainer. He waits until the Florida caucus is over and then endorses the winner. Besides, who cares?

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

    No it doesn't matter. If a GOPer gets in Bufftet's secretary and 90% of us are going to pay a larger chunk of our income to the govt than Buffet, Romney, Trump, and Obama. If Obama and the dems get in they will pay their fair share like the rest of us. It's really that simple, but you can't fix stupid.

    February 2, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Teams33

    Romney will rock Obama's world.

    February 2, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  4. ArchMarc

    Who the heck cares?

    February 2, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Bennycat

    Does anyone really care that the most ridiculous figure on the fringes of American politics has endorsed the billionaire who can't keep his foot out of his mouth for two days together?

    February 2, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. 10KLakes

    Who cares who endorses who. If people thought for themselves, these things wouldn't matter.
    I could care less if the Pope endorsed somebody, it's not the Pope voting, it's me voting.

    February 2, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. yogi

    I would be running away from anything this clown has to offer. What a complete circus this GOP primary is, what an embarrassment and assault to human dignity.
    November 2012: Obama!

    February 2, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. My name is Jose Jimenez

    Even more reason not to consider Romney for president. If Trump is the type of person Romney values – game over.

    February 2, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. Anthony

    It does matter, but not in the way Romney wants. Trump's endorsement, in the wake of Romney's comment that "he is not concerned about the very poor," makes it harder for Romney to shake his reputation as an out-of-touch rich guy who can't relate to average people. A Republican running for office should know better than saying that he is not concerned about the very poor, whatever the context is, because he needs the poor white voters.

    February 2, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. annie s

    That finally confirms it – Republicans have lost their collective minds. They would be swayed by an endorsement from the very person who got us into this mess?!

    February 2, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. mary

    It only adds to the fear for me..
    The real fear that if the GOP gets control, this will become the "united corporation of America"..Trump is cut throat in his business adventures.. To think he has his eyes on being in any way connected to our government, and how this country is to work.. Scares me to death., "
    Bottom line, what are human beings to these rich men? " Resources".. Thats all.

    February 2, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Not for nothing but does anyone's "endorsement" really matter?

    February 2, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. dreamer96

    Attention ..

    Our deepest space probe the Voyager 1 encountered a space buoy with unusual character writing and a Galaxy map, on a large plaque 6 months ago..images where sent back to earth using our deep space network..Decoding by the worlds experts have produce this...

    The message has been found to be Mesopotamia a version of known Sumerian writing....the message states...Warning Galactic isolation planet ahead...alter your course...turn off all communications equipment till safely past isolation zone...contact forbidden...this civilization and it's inhabitants are just plain crazy...contact is forbidden..they only appear intelligent at first contact...

    February 2, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. OBAMA WILL WIN IN 2012-LATINOS FOR OBAMA

    It really does not matter who endorses Romney. President Obama will be re-elected again.

    February 2, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. Jon

    If the endorsemnent didn't matter... the state media wouldn't be trying to down play it would they?

    February 2, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. Scott Miller

    So one corporate oligarch supports another. Wow! Are people proud when they cast their vote for Romney? It's mind blowing how people think he is what this country needs (I'm not an Obama supporter either).

    February 2, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. Jake

    Of course it matters, can't you see the hundreds of thousands lining up already to vote for Willard? The endorsement is like being annointed by God. The real question that begs to be asked is what does Trump hide under that bogus bleached blond hair or whatever it's called, and how many hours a day does he tan in a tanning machine, 4, 6, 8, 10, or more hours a day? Enquiring minds need to know.

    February 2, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Anthony

    I wouldn't ask or hope to get his endorsement. As someone in the comments mentioned, I would be embarrassed too. It's like getting an endorsement from Snooki.

    February 2, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Trump is delusional

    I like his show the Aprentice , but it does not make any diference who he is endorcing because I do not care for Romney. Ron Paul is a better choice.

    February 2, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. Mars Attacks

    Donald Trump is nothing more than a reality TV star, famous for....being famous. His endorsement counts about as much as an endorsement from Kim Kardshan would

    February 2, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Absolutely!

    February 2, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  22. LATINOS FOR OBAMA

    LATINOS FOR OBAMA , he will be re-elected . Yeahhhh.

    February 2, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. RapidOne

    Trumps endorsement should very much clench the opinion of many to NOT vote for Romney. But too bad so many have been brainwashed or are foaming at the mouth Republicans.

    February 2, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  24. marc in california

    an uncaring self-absorbed millionare endorsing another uncaring self-absorbed millionare. gee what a shock!

    February 2, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  25. Carlin123

    It matters to all billionaires who have dead cats stapled to their heads. So no it doesn't matter.

    February 2, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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