Reality TV bites: 'The Apprentice' effect aids Trump

Story highlights

  • David Axelrod: Trump's favorability rating is much higher among 'Apprentice' viewers
  • He says it won't be enough of a boost to get him the nomination or the presidency

David Axelrod is CNN's senior political commentator and director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago. He served as senior adviser to President Obama and chief strategist for the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)Throughout this surprising Summer of Trump, Americans at his raucous rallies have volunteered that The Donald is the strong, competent, blunt-talking leader America needs.

How do they know?
"I watch 'The Apprentice,'" said more than one.
    David Axelrod
    It used to be that a career in public service was the experience folks looked for in sizing up a president. But with politicians increasingly viewed as detached from the reality of the people they're elected to serve, could the new road to the White House actually run through reality TV?
    You may be a little skeptical about whether managing Gary Busey and Dennis Rodman for an hour on TV qualifies one to deal with ISIS and Putin, but now there is new evidence that Trump's 14 years as ringmaster of "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice" were a nice foundation for his latest venture -- at least in the minds of those who watched the show.

    'Apprentice' boost

    AMG, a media planning and analytics firm on whose board I sit, has conducted an interesting experiment to study the boost being the boss of "The Apprentice" has given the current GOP frontrunner.
    Answer? Well, not HUGE, as The Donald might say. But definitely significant.
    AMG fielded an o