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Does Palin Help or Hurt Trump?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Voters in general don’t think much of Sarah Palin and see her endorsement of Donald Trump as more harmful than helpful to his candidacy. But for Republicans and conservative voters in particular, the intended audience as the Iowa caucus nears, a Palin endorsement is a plus.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% of Likely Republican Voters believe Palin’s endorsement of Trump on Tuesday will help the billionaire developer’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Twenty-four percent (24%) say her endorsement will hurt Trump instead, while 35% say it will have no impact. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

By comparison, 62% of Democrats say President Obama’s endorsement of one of the presidential candidates would be important to their vote, although that includes just 26% who say it would be Very Important.

The endorsement by the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, a longtime darling of conservatives, was intended to blunt Senator Ted Cruz’s surging challenge to front-runner Trump among right-leaning Iowa Republicans. Thirty-three percent (33%) of conservative voters think Palin’s endorsement will help Trump, while just as many (34%) say it will have no impact. Only 22% feel the endorsement will hurt his candidacy.

Among all likely voters, on the other hand, 21% say Palin’s endorsement will help Trump in the GOP race, while 30% believe it will hurt him. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say it will have no impact. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure. But then only 33% have a favorable opinion of the former Alaska governor, including 12% with a Very Favorable one.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Republicans, however, hold a favorable view of Palin versus 38% who view her unfavorably. This includes 25% with a Very Favorable view and 15% with a Very Unfavorable one.  Her overall favorables are down only slightly from the summer of 2011, but 80% of GOP voters viewed Palin favorably in November 2009.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 20-21, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

A record high 74% of Republican voters think Trump is likely to be their party’s presidential nominee this year. Rasmussen Reports will update its weekly Trump Change numbers at 10:30 a.m. Eastern today.

Among voters who think Trump is Very Likely to be the GOP nominee, 42% say a Palin endorsement helps him, while just 18% feel it hurts his candidacy.

Findings among all voters, though, suggest that Palin is unlikely to be prominent on the campaign trail this fall if Trump wins the nomination.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, Palin is viewed more favorably by men than by women. Female voters are twice as likely as men to think a Palin endorsement hurts rather than helps Trump. Men are evenly divided.

The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to have a favorable opinion of Palin. But voters of all ages tend to think her endorsement hurts Trump’s candidacy more than it helps it.

A survey in late 2011 found that 70% of Likely New Hampshire Primary Voters felt it would be bad for the Republican Party if Palin jumped into the GOP presidential race.

But just before the 2008 presidential election, GOP voters were happier with Palin, their vice presidential nominee, than with John McCain, the party’s standard-bearer.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans said at that time that Palin helped McCain’s bid for the presidency.

Trump remains tied with Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 matchup.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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