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. Hawk in Texas

    Why wont romney turn over his tax returns. he has even gotten an extention so he will not have to reveal his taxes until after the november election. how much is he hiding in his overseas banks. he bought his way out of having to serve in vietnam, as he bought his 5 sons way out of desert storm. they could not join the army. they were too busy trying to help daddy get elected president.Romney all ready has about 30 people from the george w, white house hired.

    July 5, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  2. edgar

    Rubio can come on stage with the flag of every latino/hispanic voter and he still wouldn't get their vote over Obama. The others are hypocrites or nobodies.

    July 5, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  3. James PDX

    Have you ever noticed how you can look at some people and instantly not like them? Sure, you'll occasionally be proven wrong and they'll turn out OK, but quite often that 1st instinct/impression is spot on. Now, look at the top people in the GOP and tell me that about 4 out of 5 of them don't set off that instinct. Creepy.

    July 5, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  4. James PDX

    To Alvin. It's not the largest tax increase ever. Not even in the top 5.

    July 5, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  5. not interested

    not interested in any of these folks.

    July 5, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  6. Dee

    not like any of them are getting near the White House.. WHO CARES? Obama 2013-2017! 4 MORE YEARS!

    July 5, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  7. Cindy

    They need to be careful with that Bobby Jindle. After all he was conceived in India and they claim born in the USA shortly after his parents arrived. We will need to investigate the birth certificate and investigate his parents travels. This might be a big scandal.

    July 5, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  8. Mark

    Any running mate Romney picks would far surpass Clueless Joe Biden. I'd like to refer to him as a joke, but he is so pathetic he isn't funny.

    July 5, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  9. apu20

    A tale of two Presidents:

    Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country (Kennedy).

    Never mind what you can do for your country; always ask what your country can do for you (Obama).

    July 5, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  10. Buzzsaw

    Puerto Rico Republican Governor, Gov. Fortuño, still on the VP contender list?

    July 6, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  11. NameKen

    Tricky decision. I don't think Romney's personality is strong enough to carry a no-name running mate. Yet he can't choose someone that will outshine him. They need to come across as a team

    July 6, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  12. PatQ

    Yeah, Obama would love it if Romney took Santorum or Sheriff Joe Arpao! That would hand the election to Obama. And to all those who fell for Santorum's con job... you must not know that he lost by 18 points when he ran for re-election to the Senate in 2006. So even his own state can't stand him. He's a weasel.

    July 6, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  13. JC in Western U.S.

    A man I work with grew up with Bobby Jindal. He told me a story about a time when four or five friends, including Bobby were together, having not seen each other for years, and one of them asked Bobby Jindal why he was running for Governor of Louisiana. These are men who'd known each other since junior high and high school. Bobby Jindal, according to my colleague, said "Because I want what is best for the great state of Louisiana." My colleague was dismayed because it felt to him as if Bobby Jindal was no longer able to be honest even with his oldest friends, that he'd just turned into a political cardboard cutout. All hat and no cattle.

    July 6, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  14. randy

    Mitt wants someone that cannot upstage him. Mitt's team can depend on Karl Rove's PACs to lie about progressives or Obama, so he simply wants a dummy, someone as dangerous as Dick Cheney, someone with very simple language skills like George Bush jr.

    July 6, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  15. midas

    The vp should be an illegal Mexican immigrant for him to have a chance.

    July 6, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  16. Jill

    Isn't it interesting that the Republican knock on Obama has been over a lack of experience, and yet all but one of these potential picks are summarily undistinguished? There's not a one of them that should really be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. And to be quite frank about it, I really don't understand the Republican obsession with putting up unvetted candidates for high offices? Wouldn't it inspire more confidence if some of these choices had been tested under pressure before being put into such a position, so we can all see how they react, and what type of decisions they make?

    July 6, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  17. Chris and Lee

    Whatever he puts up should be better than that sock puppet McCain put up last time around!

    July 6, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  18. madmaninthemiddle

    Portman may seem like a safe choice, but I can hear the campaign ad now – a Washington insider who as budget director squandered the surplus and presided over the doubling of the national debt.

    Condee Rice would be a bold choice – loved by the right and widely respected, smart, experienced. But Romney is not that bold and would fear being overshadowed.

    July 6, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  19. J.V.Hodgson

    The only justification i can think of for this article is for CNN to put as many names forward as soon as possible and then say we were actuall firts to indicate that name in article X on Y date.
    What a non subject.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    July 6, 2012 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  20. JR.

    There only one person in America that can help the GOP. Who has prove themselves to the America peoples who they trust. And that is the republican Hillary Clinton " Condoleezza Rice". But? but ? She is black. And we know the GOP doesnt like black peoples. She was the only thing that made Bush presidency toilable. But Mitts not that smart so he ll pick a flunky like MCcain.....I smell Re-peat..... Yalllaalllaaal !!!

    July 6, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  21. worldcares

    100 million dollars? This is insane.

    July 6, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  22. larry

    Mitt is collecting millions for his election. First he must learn to speak properly. He can not connect two sentences. Obama has nothing to offer, no experience, no track record, no nothing, but he can speak and convince the people. so you go and do the math.

    July 6, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
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