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. CBR

    Does it really matter who he picks? Probably, because Mr. Romney loses interest in jobs before he finishes them. His governorship is just one example. With the amount of money being fed into his campaign, it appears they will be on the airwaves continually and the PACs will do his dirty work. He can just sit back and watch the ads,too,

    July 5, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  2. JP

    With Obamacare, top capital gains tax rate will be 44.8%, far above the current flat 15% rate. If you have investments, think before you vote. There are so many taxes in Obamacare that people are simply not aware of. Not sure what people are celebrating about the Obamacare.

    July 5, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. JerPell

    Anyone Romney picks will have no problem passing the IQ test of dummy Biden......

    July 5, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  4. Bleedingheart

    Don't know them, don't want to know them.

    July 5, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  5. Cinchy

    Mark my words, Ryan's stock will continue to rise. He's too intelligent, well spoken, and capable to stay out of the real limelight for much longer. He's basically a smarter, more articulate version of Obama – and actually knows what to do.

    July 5, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  6. NWO

    romney said he is there for the 1%.the rich,he believes that normal kids should be working in sweatshops at 5 years old while his and rich peoples kids get the eduction.this is to ensure the future of our country has only 2 classes of people.1st class=the 1%,the rich and powerful.2nd class=everyone that snivels at the gown of the rich and powerful....its already started,they take money away from public education,make college so exp. Only the rich can afford it.take away perks like public parks and land or impose a rediculous ofee on them.all this so the normal people know where they stand but there is 1 thing they can never take from me.my ability to burn things down..everything burns people,hit them in there wallet,its the only thing they care about...(EVERYTHING BURNS)

    July 5, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. zoyster1

    This just in: White House to announce they're changing the name of the recent scientific discovery to the Obama Particle.

    July 5, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. Gregory Faith

    I really want a candidate that looks like he can walk up a flight of stairs before fainting. These guys need to bulk up!

    July 5, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  9. Romney Friend

    Well .. Remember the war money .. add more than the tax money and still recurring! Romney is capable of another housing crisis and a greatest ever war .. if business is not regulated and unilateral is controlled...

    July 5, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  10. David

    what a shame. All this money these half assed politicians raise......they should donate most of it to homeless or less fortunate. what does this say about this candidate and this country. sad.

    July 5, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  11. Good grief

    This shows far too many Americans are consumed with video games and nonsense. They should at least be familiar with these names even if they don't know anything about them. Don't you folks listen to news besides the entertainment/celebrity tabloids stuff????

    July 5, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  12. Thomas

    It will be Conni Rice .

    Who else can make Mitt look like a just and regular guy !

    July 5, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  13. tingle007

    I'd be very happy with Jindal or Pawlenty. Jindal has turned Louisiana from a corrupt hell hole to a beacon of employment, he's not a good public speaker but his academic history is sterling. Tim Pawlenty is about the most uncontroversial guy you could pick. Logical, calm, ideal running mate to distance yourself from the Sarah Palins of the world.

    July 5, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  14. Nurul Aman

    What difference does it make whom is picked up as his running mate. Americans know Romney enough as a failed Governor in Massachusetts. He has been also the Champion of Phony politics and life about his own record of healthcare reform in Massachusetts and defies his own so-called Romneycare. He was also bully during his HS years, was bully again during his tenure at Bain Capital by brutally destroying small business to pockets billions of dollars, he was also bully during his tenure as the Governor of Massachusetts by vetoing series of bills for funding public higher education. He invested all his blood sucking venture capitalist money (earned from Bane) in Swiss Banks and Cayman Islands. He has opened blind Trust Funds of billions of dollars to evade federal taxes. What else Americans do Americans need to know to reject him from being elected? That is enough. Gov. Romney does not qualify to become elected. Voters know that.

    July 5, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  15. Steve

    The Bilderberg group chose Rubio at their last meeting.

    July 5, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  16. ublvble

    any pick is better than biden, who it seems said in primary season that he would work for any republican candidate than obama, but ended up as obama's VP. Democrats have a very high moral. forgot to mention that after a bitter fight with obama , hillary accepted a cabinet rank in obama's govt. hmmm .....

    July 5, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  17. db

    Finger pointing time is over. Neither the Republicans or Democrats are blameless for the State of the Union. Both idiologies are counter productive and both appear to be out of control and out of touch with reality. There are no clear answers to the situation we are currently in.

    July 5, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  18. telrider

    It really doesn"t matter. Obama will be reelcted.

    July 5, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  19. kirk from chicago

    this just confirms how out of touch the the average american is with politics and of course the same is true vice versa. the us political system will never change with so many ppl not even familiar with there elected officials. why would someone ever change themselves or the system they work for the most dont even know who they are

    July 5, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  20. Texas

    None of the above, on either side of the aisle.

    July 5, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  21. Condolisa Rice Is the best VP choice to break the strangle hold Obama has over the Black Voters. IMHO

    To defeat Obama, the Black vote must be fragmented. The best VP choice would Condolisa Rice as the most experienced & knowledgable.

    July 5, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  22. ingyandbert

    Anyone who pays even half-hearted attention to politics should immediately recognize all (or at least half) of those guys. If not, then you have to question how well someone like that follows the facts and issues affecting the election and the country. Always amazes me how many people have strong opinions yet very little actual knowledge on which to base them (i.e., the proverbial "No Govt Takeover of Medicare" crowd).

    July 5, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  23. bigaugie

    Couldn't. Care. Less.

    July 5, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  24. Cindy

    That's all we need is Paul Ryan of the Ryan Corporation. Romney and Ryan spell doom for the middle class.

    July 5, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  25. adrifter

    Who cares if nobody knows these guys. Romney collected $100 million last month. He could just buy all the votes he needs to win the election. I'm just assuming vote buying is legal in the United States. After all, unlimited donations are legal, corporations are legally people and it's legal to suppress the vote to win elections. Vote buying must be legal. Everything else seems to be.

    July 5, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
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