CNN Poll: Republicans divided on VP choice
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Sen. Rick Santorum or Pennsylvania, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie top the CNN/ORC poll.
April 18th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Republicans divided on VP choice

Washington (CNN) - Who should Mitt Romney choose as his running mate?

According to a new national poll, there's no consensus among Republicans. But a CNN/ORC International survey released Wednesday does indicate there's an ideological split that could put pressure on Romney, the all but certain GOP presidential nominee, as he tries to make his decision.

Full results (PDF)

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The poll asked Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP to choose from eight names who could be among the two dozen or so potential running mates that the Romney campaign may be considering as the vice presidential nominee.

According to the survey, Condoleezza Rice is on top of the list. Twenty-six percent questioned said they would like to see Rice, who served as national security adviser and later as secretary of state under President George W. Bush, as the Republican vice presidential nominee. In second place in the survey, at 21%, was Rick Santorum, who was Romney's chief rival for the nomination until early last week, when the former senator from Pennsylvania suspended his campaign for the White House.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were each at 14%, with House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin at 8%, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at 5%, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell at 1% and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio at less than one half of one percent.

"Name recognition is the key," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Rice and Santorum are best known and they top the overall wish list."

But split out self-described supporters of the tea party movement and a different picture emerges.

The poll indicates that Rubio, at 22%, and Christie, at 18%, top the list of tea party supporters, with Rice and Santorum dropping into a tie for third place.

According to the survey, among Republicans who say they aren't supporters of the tea party, 36% say Rice is their choice to be Romney's running mate, with one in four saying they'd like Santorum as the GOP vice presidential nominee. Christie barely cracks double digits and Rubio is in single digits among non tea party supporters.

Why don't Rubio and Christie do better among non tea party supporters?

"Once again, it's all a matter of name recognition," says Holland. "Two-thirds of tea party Republicans are familiar with Rubio and virtually all of them have a favorable view of him; six in ten Republicans who do not support the tea party have little or no idea who Rubio is. Christie's numbers among tea party supporters are even higher - three-quarters of them have a favorable view of the New Jersey governor and only one in five are unfamiliar with him; nearly six in ten Republicans who don't support the tea party don't have an opinion of Christie."

The poll indicates that the other names on the list, such as Jindal, McDonnell, and Portman, are unknown quantities to tea party supporters and other Republicans alike. It goes without saying, however, that the presidential nominee is unlikely to put his running-mate choice to a vote, so Romney's opinion is probably the only one that will count in the end.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from April 13-15, with 473 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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Filed under: 2012 • 2012 VP Pick • Bob McDonnell • Bobby Jindal • Chris Christie • Condoleezza Rice • Marco Rubio • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan • Rick Santorum • Rob Portman
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. tullymd

    Our problem is congress. 9% approval. Obstructionist and no hope for any meaningful change. Who Romney picks for VP is an irrelevancy. I favor Alan Simpson. He's worthy of respect and capable. Thus he is automatically unfit. You people think this is about choosing a leader of the free world; but I know it as a big fat American Idol contest. I'd rather watch baseball.

    April 18, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Billo8840

    The economy tanked in 2002 thanks to the Bush team economics. Surplus was gone. economic expansion was gone. Unemployment went through the roof. Deficits soared. Everybody blamed the "Clinton tech bubble" and 911. Then for a few years things seemed to look better but never really took of. A massive housing bubble fueling borrowing raised consumer demand. It was all an illusion built on debt not on prosperity or work. Finally by the end of 2007 it all came crashing down. Record unemployment. Record deficits. Record housing losses and foreclosures. Remember Lehman Bros? Do people really have memories that short? It was a total disaster on every level. Debt. Employment. Housing. Small business suffered because of the credit crunch.

    Now we are having another election and people are seriously considering putting a republican back in the White house? Things have been slowly improving. The forecast in 2008 was for between 15% to 25% unemployment. It peaked a ten percent and is back to 8%. That is alot better than the 700,000 jobs amonth being lost at the end of the Bush years. The Dow was 3600 when Clinton took office and 11,700 when he left. Over a 300% increase. The Dow was 11,700 when Bush took office and 7,500 when he left. A 40% decrease. Thats why all the seniors had to go back to work. Their retirement accounts were wrecked. Even in my job many oldtimers delayed retirement because of what happened to the markets under Bush. No jobs and nobody able to retire.

    Electing another Republican president would probably permanently damage the U.S. beyond repair. We are still digging out of the hole Bush/Cheney dug and will be for many years to come. This is no time to go back to destructive policies.

    April 18, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Ken

    Can you hear Sarah Palin moving about, I can. Sarah Sarah come out wherever you are.....Oh wait, you're dumb as heck and everyone knows you're just in it for the power and money. Sorry Sarah, I don't like Rommey, I don't like the GOP, but nobody in the world would be as stupid to pick you, well McCain did.

    April 18, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. dd

    how will they ever top biden.......yikes.

    April 18, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. ACE

    Okay Noel your arguments are very flawed! For starters Carter was already battered in the Mid terms due to a challenge by Ted Kennedy and Romney is no Reagan!

    April 18, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. A Christian Soldier

    Huntsman would be the best choice, but the media would have a field day if 2 LDS were on the ticket. Rice would be awesome, but Romney has to appeal to the south so I bet Rubio or Jindel, then again Perry would be funny to debate Biden

    April 18, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    Catering to the Tea Party causes Cratering in the campaign. In case it's not obvious by now, America wants the government to get to work-and the Tea Party wants to stop it from working. The Tea Party does NOT represent mainstream America. Lunatic fringe, maybe, but not the mainstream.

    April 18, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. M

    Condi Rice would be awesome if she would accept.

    April 18, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Wake up people

    I hope they don't think Condoleeza will attract blacks because she won't. Blacks do not care for her or relate to her. I will admit she is very intelligent, very much unlike Palin and Bachman but that's it.

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 18, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Jimmy

    Not a lot of great choices. Just as the best conservatives are staying out of this race (hoping for 2016), none of the good minds will be willing to sacrifice themselves for the VP slot. Obama will roll over Romney, and the GOP seems to acknowledge that.

    April 18, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. ACE

    If anything I think it would be better for Romney to pick a more low key VP. You cant take to much attention way from the main candidate. Maybe someone like Sen Bob Corker or Sen John Kyl

    April 18, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Andrew

    @noel, you say that Obama hasn't done anything. Well how can he do anything if republicans are so hard headed that they don't consider compromise at all. Remember, just about all of the candidates in that debate said they would refuse a 10:1 spending cut to tax increase ratio compromise.

    April 18, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. MMM

    Gov. Susanna Martinez of New Mexico would be perfect. She has shaped up this state after the dope we had in office before her. She is strong, determined, smart and she doesn't take no crap from no one. There is the woman vote, and hispanic vote right there for Romney.

    April 18, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. Matt

    A minority is the only person who can help Romney. Preferably a woman, but Bobby Jindahl or Marco Rubio could work too. Kelly Ayotte, Anna Escobedo Cabral, Jan Brewer or Condoleeza Rice.

    April 18, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. ptw

    Wow...these seem like some pretty bad choices. Must just be a list with name recognition, and not people seriously up for the job.

    I mean...Condi Rice? Really? She's completely associated with huge failures in the Bush Admin.

    And Santorum? That's really the way that Romney is going to win back women voters and moderates?

    April 18, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Charles manson

    Black people dont even know who romney is and dont wanna know, picking Condoleeza Bush aint gonna help either

    April 18, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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