CNN Poll: Americans unfamiliar with some possible Romney running mates
(L) Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida (R) Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
July 5th, 2012
04:33 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans unfamiliar with some possible Romney running mates

(CNN) - Most Americans are unfamiliar with some of the men speculated to be on Mitt Romney's list of potential running mates, according to a new CNN/ORC International Poll released Thursday.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the one person Romney has confirmed is being vetted, was the only name in the poll known by at least half of the general public.

See full results (PDF)

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Among those who had an opinion about Rubio, 28% said they held a favorable view of the freshman senator, while 22% said they had an unfavorable view. Another 50% said they were unsure, with 36% of those having never heard of Rubio.

Rubio, whose parents emigrated from Cuba, has been noted for his popularity among Latino voters, a crucial voting block among which Romney lags far behind President Barack Obama.

Other potential contenders include Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

According to the poll, the four names had one common theme: A majority of Americans had no opinion about them, with many of them having never heard of the men.

One of the most buzzed-about names recently, Sen. Portman, especially had low name recognition.

"Nearly eight in ten are unfamiliar with Ohio Senator Rob Portman," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "On the other hand, that's probably what Romney is looking for, since major party nominees rarely like to be overshadowed by their vice-presidential choices."

A popular senator from Ohio, political observers say Portman brings geographic appeal to the campaign. He also served as a budget director under the George W. Bush administration as part of a long and experienced career in Washington.

Both Louisiana Gov. Jindal and former Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty are out on the trail this week, shadowing Obama's bus tour and stumping for Romney through Ohio and Pennsylvania.

However, neither of them are particularly well known, the poll shows. Forty-three percent of Americans say they don't know about Pawlenty or Jindal.

Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin whose name is often in headlines over his proposed budget, the so-called Ryan Plan, still does not hold much weight among Americans. Forty percent say have never heard of the House Budget chairman.

Also significant, the poll shows that when broken down by party lines, the unfamiliarity numbers don't change much, suggesting even Republicans don't know anything about the potential running mates.

For example, while 40% of all Americans have never heard of Ryan, 35% of Republicans said the same thing. Meanwhile, 40% of Republicans know nothing about Pawlenty, who ran as a GOP presidential candidate last year. And a whopping 56% of Republicans have not heard of Portman.

In addition to these men, Romney's wife, Ann, said Thursday the campaign is considering women, as well.

"We've been looking at that," Ann Romney said when asked in a CBS interview whether her husband should select a woman to join him on the GOP ticket. "I'd love that option as well. So, you know, there's a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now."

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have all been mentioned in the media as potential running mates for Romney.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from June 28 to July 1, with 1,517 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is +/-2.5 percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • 2012 VP Pick • CNN/ORC International poll • Mitt Romney
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Nathan

    the best choices like Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels have their eyes on 16 and have already told Mitt no

    July 5, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  2. Erik

    I'll say it's either the Penguin or the Riddler. Romney already has the Joker slot filled.

    July 5, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  3. Chad

    if you truly add it all up TRULY... obama has done way more good than bad with a congress that chooses not to pass anything he wants. no one ever thinks about what he has all acomplished and its sad. i cant wait to have health insurance and im glad i was on parents health insurance when i had surgery or else id be paying 20 grand out of my pocket for costs. billionaires and millionaires you make me sick. trying to own this country buying the win for romney. also people who dont know these vp picks well you need to start researching rather than listening to talk radio and foxnews. i know the majority of americans dont even know who their senators are in their state. open a book america and make sure there is an atom on it and not a cross

    July 5, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Chad

    this country makes me sad. more interested in supersizing fries and saying they are number one in everything "except obesity of course". Saying we know it all but in reality when a fact hits your face its not a fact because conservative talk radio says "you stupid liberals are wrong debate me debate me now" the conservative thinking on the other side "oh yea thats right stupid liberals" while the liberal uses todays technology to find information rather than snakes tempting people in trees.

    July 5, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. red clay roads

    Rominey's running mate needs to be well-known and have an incredibly good reputation. Didn't the republican party learn anything with the McCain/Palin ticket. The last election would more than likely have had a far different result had McCain gotten someone like Condalisa Rice (if she had been interested) to be his running mate.

    July 5, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. SCOTO

    What no Palin?

    July 5, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  7. Johnson

    Having raised $100 million in June Romney and Karl Rove will purchase the Presidency for the first time in our history. It is very sad indeed.

    July 5, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  8. works4me

    It took 3.5 years for the GOP to come up with Romney. The only reason some support him is because that's what the GOP is cramming him down their throats. Now this "bunch" of unheard ofs is being vetted?
    Not many heard of Palin either... we all see what that got America. Please no more mitt heads.

    July 5, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. southernwonder

    i think romney should pick rob portman. this could be the last real christian presidency we might have. did you all see the new naturlaized citizens? they all look like democrat voters to me, there were hardly any whites there. i don't get the europeans. at one time they jumped the ship to get into usa illegally, and now they just won't naturalize here. the non christian population in usa is decreasing as the whites marry late and divorce more.

    July 5, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. cajun

    I hope that Mill will give serious consideration to Bobby Jindall. He has been a fantastic governor. Our state's economy is strong and growing. He has worked across party lines with NOLA mayor Landrieu and the city is now number one in growth. He tackled the teacher unions and has completely overhauled education in the state including a voucher system for failing schools. He is truly a man of a thousand ideas with a plan to implement every one of them if given a chance. Geaux Bobbie!

    July 5, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. John

    I personally hoping it's Bobby Jindal for the V.P. candidate, but if Romeny loses I like to see Bobby Jindal run for President in 2016.

    July 5, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. David

    Since Obama failed America so bad, he isn't getting much cash flow now. It's a shame that money has to buy votes. What happened with " May the best candidate win" ?

    July 5, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  13. Lisa

    Yes I know them,one is a closet terrorist just look at him anyone seen his birth certificate? One is a full NAZI and the rest are paid corporate blow boys who will do whatever to slam the middle class.

    July 5, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  14. DoubleW

    They forget to mention one detail... i bet they are all millionaires.

    July 5, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. Vicente

    I actually like Romney as a person. He can't help being a snob. But the fact that he had absolutely no point on view on any issue is scary. Anybody he picks will have a hard time working with him

    July 5, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  16. Beadles

    No one knew who Sarah Palin was either – look how well that turned out.

    July 5, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  17. Name liberty or death

    Hope and change has become lies. You libs are very good at the spin in recent years (I,ll hand that to you). The rain's gonna fall on you! Democracy died last week...national socialism is here.

    July 5, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. Rahul Pinto

    In addition to my previous post... CNN should learn to educate Americans on the possible Republican VP candidates and not criticize... I guess its CNN's fault Americans don't know the listed possible Romney running mates.

    July 5, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. amac

    Romney doesn't want a Veep who will overshadow him...... that really narrows the possibilities, doesn't it?

    July 5, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  20. mian Riaz

    Christe , Governor of NJ

    July 5, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Lone wolf

    Pick Jindal, he is the little Hitler of Louisiana the GOP is looking for. The type of profile the tea party cherishes!

    July 5, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  22. Timothy

    I think he will choose Rubio. To be honest the unknown factor really doesn't make that much of a difference. It is the strength of the person that is most important. How many of you could have told me who Dick Cheney was before he made it onto the Bush ticket. Also Gore was about as well known as Rubio when Clinton selected him.

    July 5, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  23. laserman59

    Tax tax tax... We get taxed for healthcare. We get healthcare in return. We got taxed to pay for the Iraq war.
    What did we get in return? I have no problems with these so-called taxes if we can truly improve healthcare
    for the American people.

    July 5, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  24. MN DFL

    Hope he picks some right winged eccentric to pander to the Tea Party!!!

    July 5, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  25. ted

    The important question for these guys to answer is this. Was Mitt for the tax on healthcare before he was against it? Or was it calling it a penalty when his political expediency kicked in and now calls it a tax? A TAX??????? HORRORS??????? WE CAN'T HAVE A TAX. OMG THE POOR WHINY MILLIONAIRES WON'T GET THEIR FULL BUSH TAX CUTS AND as we have learned will not create jobs so that venture capitalists like BAIN CAPITAL can come along and DESTROY THEM.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    July 5, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
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