Endorsements Aren't 'Trump' Cards

Endorsements can hurt candidates more than they help.

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney could be a little sorry after GOP lightning rod and real estate mogul Donald Trump jumped on his campaign bandwagon last week.

While candidates often fight it out for endorsements, a recent report shows they have little impact on voter opinion and can even be a liability (depending on who is doing the endorsing). For example, Herman Cain, who was briefly the GOP presidential front-runner, endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for the nomination, while Trump endorsed current front-runner Romney. Who gets the advantage?

[Donald Trump Labeled 'Clown' by Political Observers]

A survey of 1,000 Republican and Republican-leaning voters last month by the Pew Research Center found that endorsements by certain Republicans, like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, would turn more potential voters on than off. Three in 10 said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate Bush supported, and almost a quarter would be more likely to vote for Palin's pick. Still, about 60 percent said it would make no difference.

But if a little boost can be desirable, being backed by the wrong Republican superstar could have a negative impact. The same report shows that a Trump endorsement may be a liability: 20 percent of those surveyed said they would be less likely to support his chosen candidate, and only 13 percent would be more likely. An endorsement by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has yet to give her support to one of her former rivals, could cost a candidate 18 percent of the voters and positively swing only 10 percent. An endorsement by the 2008 nominee, Sen. John McCain, who is backing Romney, or former candidate Cain would have an almost even split between positive and negative impact.

  • DNC Turns Trump Endorsement Into a Curse
  • Cain Stumps for Gingrich in Florida
  • See photos of the 2012 GOP hopefuls.