One staple of the U.S. political scene is the quest for endorsements, and Republican front-runner Mitt Romney seems to be leading in the race for support from the GOP establishment.

He picked up the support of Arizona Senator John McCain, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, who also was a member of the U.S. presidential field until August.

He may not be part of the party “establishment,” but Romney even got the backing of a high-profile party figure — albeit one who declared himself an independent in December — reality television star and real estate mogul Donald Trump, who called the former Massachusetts governor “tough, sharp and smart.”

But does such support really help?

“At best, so far that’s gotten him mixed results,” Republican strategist Keith Appell said, when asked about Romney’s support by party leaders. “Nikki Haley didn’t help in South Carolina. Tim Pawlenty did not help him in Minnesota.”

Prominent supporters can act as useful surrogates. Backers might pay to attend a fundraiser headlined by a well-known supporter, and voters might turn out to hear one speak.