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
11 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. wiscopeople2135

    Ted Nugent for veep

    April 18, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. jon

    The $5 Trillion Man: Debt Has Increased Under Obama by $5,027,761,476,484.56 and his Veep is a certified nut job, we can't possibly do any worse

    April 18, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    maybe he should pick either Herman Cain or Allen West. That should help the GOP get the Black vote back since it's been said Blacks only vote due to race.

    April 18, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Todd

    I'm a center-left independant and I'd vote for a Colin Powell/Condi Rice ticket in a second.

    April 18, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Brianna

    Rice wont be picked because no matter how much the GOP claims to be fair, if something happened to Romney and she became president the racist teabaggies would implode having to deal with a black woman!

    April 18, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. SJinSJ

    Unfortunately, Republicans aren't a single party, more like an uneasy coalition between traditional Republicans and the tea party. (Most of the scary right-wing fringe is allied with the tea party, but not quite all.)

    I'm a Democrat, and I've been satisfied with Obama, but he's certainly not perfect, and I'd be open to alternatives. As a moderate conservative who clearly doesn't owe anything to either the religious right or the tea party, Romney has a certain appeal. I hope he doesn't blow it by choosing a Palin-type VP.

    April 18, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. nurse


    Open your eyes. It doesn't matter the party. We are in trouble and Romney is not the guy

    April 18, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Jeff

    My vote:

    Mitch Daniels...

    It's the #1 issue is the economy...both Washington outsiders...git r done...Mitt!

    April 18, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. ken

    Go tebow!!! www. tebowsteak. com

    April 18, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. janerose

    You crazy republicans will end up with Palin. Oh and all the attack ads played against Mitt by other republicans will be played against him again when he runs against Obama. Our president that all you unloyal(American) republicans hate. You are fools! Hahaha

    April 18, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. The Dude

    No Palin?

    April 18, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Olaf Big

    Bobby Jindal or Chris Christie! You want the swing votes. The base votes are Romney's anyway. Condi would not be a bad choice, if she were not Baby Bush's chief BS thrower.

    April 18, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Chris

    "The economy is , again, worsening, no matter what Obama and your BSNBC, CNN, & other DIMocRATS tell you"

    Yeah, Noel. We should instead listen to your alleged brilliance – consisting entirely of unsubstantiated claims, predictions and juvenile name-mangling. Maybe you should look at where the Dow Jones stands today – and where it was at the time your hero Dubya dropped the presidency like a hot potato and fled.

    April 18, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Pete/Ark

    Romninny could choose Waldo the Wonder Chimp or even Miz Sayrah-rah for all that it matters...when he loses who's gonna care ?

    April 18, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Hoosier

    Mitch Daniels !!!

    April 18, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Tim

    Ron Paul is probably the only pick that would guarantee a Romney victory.

    April 18, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. J

    I heard someone say they'd rather vote for their shoe. Looks like someone took that there is a and "campaign."

    April 18, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. DK

    Rice all the way! She is very intelligent and good role model. Will also give blacks an alternative because YES, I know many blacks that voted democratic just to get a black person "in".

    April 18, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. jaw4

    someonestolesociofan...true. But choosing Palin ensured many that McCain had very poor decision-making skills. No one wants to vote for someone who has proven before he even gets into office that he can't make the right call.

    April 18, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. The REAL Truth.. (not the imposter)

    @Scott – "Condi is the only good choice I see in this list.."
    I hope Condi has the sense to take one look at the GOP circus and HAUL *ss in the opposite direction. She probably doesn't want her name associated with this impending political catastrophe.

    April 18, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Drew

    This is such right wing propaganda...

    April 18, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. Mike C

    I vote for the New Jersey dough boy.

    April 18, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. yneemee

    Rice, Rubio or Ryan go well with Romney – RR 2012 – the Rolls Royce campaign although then the demokrats will run a Richie Rich campaign against him........orget Santorum – he is too hung up on anti-gay issues to be credible and not appear mean spirited plus he couldn't even get reelected to his Senate seat the last time he ran... sounds like Al Gore who couldn"t carry his home state of Tennessee in 2000 when he ran against Bush.

    April 18, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. the Situation

    Lets see the choices,

    Rice: Very intelligent, a woman, black, all plus but then if we see, 8 years under Bush, supported the Bush doctorine which brought two wars, thousands of deaths in an unecessary war. Very easy to tie her to the 8 years of Bush and Cheney, easily will turn people off.

    Santorum: Fiesty, can rally the base with the red meat. But, Tongue too loose doesn't think before talking, too far right which will turn off independents and also the women vote.

    Rubio: Tea Party favorite. Swing State senator, Young, possible future of the Party. Hispanic, can rally all those votes Mitts is trailing among that demographic. However, may be inexperience, has been proven to be a liar, eg. Family history. Has shown that with him, doesn't impact the Hispanic vote

    Christie: See Santorum, negative, 2 Northern Govenors. Won't help Romney carry Northern States, Most likely won't carry the industrial states, including Michigan and Ohio plus Florida

    April 18, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. John L

    Hey let's nominate Newt Gingrich and put Mitt Tomney in as VP!

    April 18, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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