Washington (CNN) – They don't get a say when it comes to whom Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate, but a new national survey indicates that rank and file Republicans say it's critical that person be qualified to become president if needed.
According to a new CNN/ORC International poll released Friday, nearly nine in ten Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say that it's very important to them that Romney choose a running mate who can take over in the White House if necessary.
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Sixty-three percent questioned say that it's very important to them that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee choose a running mate who agrees with them on the issues. The survey indicates that 42% say their top priority is that the vice presidential nominee believe that abortion should be illegal.
Do Republicans care whether Romney picks a well-known running mate?
"Not really. Only 29% of Republicans say that it is very important to them that Romney pick someone they know a lot about," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "This might be a good thing for Romney since just about every name on his short list is unfamiliar to most Republicans."
At the bottom of the list: geography. Only one in eight Republicans say that it is very important to them that Romney chooses someone from the state or region of the country where they live.
"Whether a running mate is qualified to be president has typically been central to the public's evaluation of a running mate, and not all of them have passed the test," adds Holland. "In 2008, Americans were initially split over whether Sarah Palin was qualified to be President, but by October, 56% felt that she was not qualified. In 1992, 62% felt the same way about Dan Quayle."
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from August 7-8, with 1,010 adults nationwide, including 419 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.