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Bill Clinton's Endorsement Still Packs a Punch

There’s still one golden ticket in American political endorsements, and, yes, it’s the Big Dog.
Image: International Leaders And Luminaries Attend Clinton Global Initiative
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton watches a video at the opening plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), on September 22, 2014 in New York City. The annual meeting, established in 2005 by President Clinton, convenes global leaders to discuss solutions to world problems. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)John Moore / Getty Images

There’s still one golden ticket in American political endorsements, and, yes, it’s the Big Dog.

Former President Bill Clinton remains the most valuable surrogate among the nation’s top political celebrities, with 38 percent of Americans saying his endorsement would make them more favorable towards a candidate, versus 24 percent who said it would make them like a candidate less, according to an NBC News/ Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll out Sunday.

And there’s a reason that Clinton is in the midst of an excellent adventure stumping for candidates around the country while his Democratic successor, President Barack Obama, sticks to reliably blue states like Illinois. The same percentage – 38 percent -- who said they’d be positively influenced by a thumbs up from Clinton said a seal of approval from Obama would make them dislike a contender.

Unlike other big names like First Lady Michelle Obama and likely presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, Bill Clinton also has a net positive effect as an endorser among self-described independents. In fact, the only other candidate whose endorsement would attract more independents than it would repel is libertarian-leaning Republican Rand Paul.

The current president fares particularly poorly with the independent group. Only 15 percent of independents say they would look favorably on a candidate as a result of Obama’s backing, compared to 35 percent who said they would like the endorsee less as a result.

The most positive draws among Democrats are Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton, while Mitt Romney has the most juice among Republicans.

Still, most endorsements don't really matter, even for the most popular surrogate campaigners. About four-in-ten respondents said that an endorsement from Bill Clinton or Mitt Romney wouldn't influence their support for a candidate either way; about a third say the same about a nod from Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.