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
3 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. Joe The Pumber

    It isn't going to be Rick INsane-torum!

    April 18, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Jim

    Wow...the Teabaggers still have the GOP by the cahones. Laughable.

    April 18, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. jacklynd

    Why not just pick Ted Nugent? He's really the face of the "average" Republican. Romney will bring in all the corporate sharks who will finish picking the bones of the country and Nugent can create all the necessary outrage to produce the smoke screen that covers up the mess and blames the poor and those horrible Liberals for everything.

    April 18, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. JS

    AVOID SANTORUM. RON PAUL would be PHENOMENAL- but he'll never do it. RUBIO would be good, but he's already said 'no.' And Christie would die of a heart attack before the election

    April 18, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Bill (Louisiana)

    I jokingly would say Sarah Palin, but intelligently my response would be Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice if they expect to beat Obama in November. Think about that one America. The other three choices are too right winged, they all lost in the primaries for a reason.

    April 18, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Johnson

    I would only vote for Romney if he had Santorum as his VP. This would assure us of a conservative administration.

    April 18, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. nolimits3333

    The 1% vs the 99%.

    Romney vs Obama.

    April 18, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. JS

    AVOID SANTORUM. RON PAUL would be PHENOMENAL- but he'll never do it. RUBIO would be good, but he's already said 'no.' And Christie would have a heart attack before the election

    April 18, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. laurie

    Christie all the way!!! That would be one sweet ticket. Christie has the backbone and debate style to really add value.

    April 18, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. Barry from Wisconsin

    How about Michelle Bachmann? (I can dream, can't I?)

    April 18, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Mahhn

    Doesn't matter. They will never trick the masses into electing a Blind faith, overseas bank account, out of touch wanabe ruler to the seat of all power. Better off with the banker loving, island giving, torture approving idiot we have now. and that's just all kinds of wrong.
    Why can't we have a saine moral president for a change?

    April 18, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Donald Stump

    Mitt should choose Michele or Sarah, is the only way to get elected.

    April 18, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. John B.

    Sarah Palin.....tap Sarah Palin!!! Come-on...pleeeease.

    April 18, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. v_mag

    Obviously, he should pick Condy Rice, one of the Bush crime family.

    Rom-money = Bush.

    April 18, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. anagram_kid

    I would wager it will be Paul Ryan because he has the least to lose. The Ryan budget plan is doomed and he has to know that this will spell the end of his political career. The VP spot will potentially give him some exposure after the election – books, speaking circuit, TV pundit…etc. Although Romney makes the pick, Ryan seems like the person most likely to say ‘yes’.
    That being said… Obama/Biden 2012

    April 18, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Cindy

    All the Republicans have baggage. It is just a matter of whose baggage he wants to carry.

    April 18, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Josie

    Romney and Santorum would be great!

    April 18, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. tyler

    go with Rice...shes good with people and voters, everyone seems to like her and she will reach women and AA voters

    April 18, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. latina

    Anyone would be much better than an idiot like Joe Biden.

    April 18, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. DNC-CNN

    Is this from the same discredited poll that CNN published on Monday that alleged that Obama was leading Romney by 9 points when THREE other polls conducted during the same period showed them EVEN? Does CNN really poll people or it is just following a DNC timeline in an effort to shape public opinion?

    April 18, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. joe

    Condi Rice would be the best choice, as she is qualified and experienced. And Black. And a woman. However, her being black and a woman would take attention away from Romney, the last thing he needs. He would seem even more boring by comparison and she would get all the attention. Too bad.

    April 18, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Here is a thing about VP's...

    ...no one votes for a VP....

    ...they may vote against one, but never for..

    April 18, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. charlie avila

    I think santorum should be mitt running mate for vp of the usa!!!....

    April 18, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. YtownSports

    I like the idea of Condaleeza Rice. WAAAAAY better than McCain's pick of Palin. Might help make headway in getting a larger minority vote for the GOP. The other folks might not want to taint their Presidential aspirations in the event Romney should go belly-up in November.

    April 18, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. 1twinsfan

    I like Rubio myself. Silly GOP thinks one Hispanic will cover all the varying types not realizing that Cubans Hispanics look down on non-Cubans. It would be just the thing to really cement Obama getting the Hispanic vote for sure.

    April 18, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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