PHOENIX, December 17, 2011 ― Conservative/Tea Party South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney this week, giving him nothing more than an extra minute in the news.
Does the endorsement of a governor or popular political figure actually help a presidential candidate obtain more votes?
Are South Carolina primary voters really on the edge of their seats awaiting to hear whom Nikki Haley endorses?
The answer is simply, “no.”
Endorsements by popular or prominent politicians bring candidates some attention, and they can help them with their fund-raising, but rarely do they earn votes from the electorate.
It’s plausible that Gov. Haley’s endorsement will not help Romney at all in the South Carolina primary. Tea Partiers aren’t going to get behind him just because a Tea Party favorite said she supports him.
Conservatives will stick to their principles, no matter who gets a big name endorsement.
When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Romney, his polling numbers didn’t shoot up 10 points because a much-touted potential candidate backed him.
All that Romney got was an extra headline in the paper and access to Christie’s money-men. That was better than nothing, but how much better is hard to assess.
To put this in perspective, if Sarah Palin endorsed Barack Obama, it would dominate the news for the week. However, it would never result in actual votes for the president.
Haley endorsed Romney in 2008, and he returned the favor in the 2010 mid-term elections, so she could be simply returning the favor once again.
One endorsement that actually may have an affect on voters will be Sarah Palin’s (assuming she doesn’t endorse Obama). Just see the 2010 mid-term elections, when 70% of the Palin-endorsed candidates won their GOP primary or general election.
Otherwise, these political endorsements may do more to annoy voters than to procure their votes.
The point of the Republican presidential primary is to make up your own mind.
Watching the debates and hearing what candidates have to say and offer is all that really matters when you make your decision for the Republican primary. With all due respect to the governor and South Carolinians, Haley’s endorsement has zero affect.
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