(CNN) - Condoleezza Rice has said she has no desire to be John McCain's running mate, but a new poll out Wednesday suggests that duo could beat the Democratic ticket in the bluest of states.
In a new poll conducted by Marist College and WNBC, a McCain-Rice ticket would beat a ticket that includes both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in New York - a state that reliably votes for the Democratic candidate. (In 2004, John Kerry beat President Bush there by nearly 20 points. In 2000, the margin between Al Gore and Bush was an even higher 25 points.)
But should McCain and Rice team up, the poll suggests the two Republicans would carry New York, defeating a Clinton-Obama ticket by 3 points (49-46 percent) and an Obama-Clinton ticket by 5 points (49-44 percent.)
The poll comes days after a leading Republican strategist suggested Rice, contrary to her own public statements, is engaging in a behind-the-scenes campaign to land a spot on McCain's ticket. Former Bush administration official Dan Senor made the suggestion on ABC Sunday, noting Rice's recent appearance at the weekly meeting of Americans for Tax Reform - a leading organization of Republican insiders - as evidence she is attempting to cozy up to the conservative elite.
That suggestion immediately had Beltway insiders speculating on the potential advantages Rice would deliver, especially in light of the fact the Democratic presidential ticket will either feature a woman or an African-American for the first time in American history.
Rice herself attempted to put the speculation to rest Tuesday, saying, "I very much look forward to watching this campaign and voting as a voter - I have a lot of work to do and then I'll happily go back to Stanford."
But with polls like this, it's likely some Republicans hope she reconsiders.