Fox News released the results of its latest presidential poll today, and while the primary purpose was to gauge the standing of the Republican presidential field (Mitt Romney is in the lead), it also includes questions about those with a potential impact on the race.
One is Donald Trump, the host of “The Apprentice” who said earlier this year he was considering a presidential run but then, to the surprise of few, decided not to. What he has been doing is having meetings with various candidates, including Romney and Rick Perry, taking on the role of a kind of kingmaker.
But Fox’s poll shows that his endorsement isn’t necessarily a sure-bet for broader support. While 62% of those polled said that it would make no difference in their decision, 31% said that a Trump endorsement would make them less likely to vote for that candidate, a rather high figure. Just 6% said it would make them more likely to vote for that candidate.
An October 2007 USA Today poll of Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama showed that 81% said it would make no difference and 10% said it would make them more likely to vote against Obama. Jusrt 8% said it made them more likely to vote for Obama.
A few caveats: It’s always a risk to compare polls from different polling firms, as methodologies can be different. But it is safe to say that Winfrey was a far less polarizing figure than Trump is now. Also, if a celebrity endorsement does have an influence over the way one votes, who in their right mind is going to admit that? Many have said that the better question for pollsters is whether a celebrity endorsement will cause you to pay attention to a candidate.
So the influence of a Trump endorsement may be hidden in the 62% “makes no difference” category. Yet it still doesn’t change the one-third who see his seal of approval as a turnoff.
The Trump question and results are below: