Poll: Of select potential veeps, Condoleezza Rice has highest favorability rating among Republicans

posted at 6:01 pm on April 18, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Of certain select potential vice presidential running mates for Mitt Romney, Condoleezza Rice is by far the most popular among Republicans and it’s not even close, according to a CNN/ORC poll. Rice boasts an approval rating of 80 percent, leading Rick Santorum, whose favorability stands at 65 percent, by 15 points. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with 55 percent, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan are one point apart at 44 percent and 43 percent respectively.

Furthermore, Rice pulled a plurality of support — or 26 percent — in answer to the explicit question, “Of the people I just mentioned, which one would you most like to see Mitt Romney choose as his vice presidential running mate … ?” The rest of the list corresponded with the favorability ratings, as well, with 21 percent saying they hope Romney will choose Santorum, 14 percent Christie, 14 percent Rubio and just 8 percent Ryan.

Among Tea Partiers, though, it’s a slightly different story. While 85 percent of Tea Partiers have a favorable opinion of her, she isn’t the Tea Party pick for VP. A plurality — 22 percent — picked Rubio, another 18 percent selected Christie and 16 percent selected Rice.

The “Results for Republicans Only” are based on a sample of just 473 Republicans and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. The interviewers also asked Republicans for their opinions about Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

Condi’s ticket-balancing credentials are obvious, she would more than hold her own in a debate, she’s been tested in the national spotlight and she has a kind of grace and gravitas that seemingly leave her unfazed by anything. She’s equally comfortable defending controversial foreign policy as she is playing classical piano for the queen. She’s certainly a compelling choice, and I can understand why she polled as well as she did.

Still, though, not even a full week of veepstakes has made me change my mind that Paul Ryan should still be Mitt Romney’s man. A recent column by Michael Barone articulates perfectly why he’s the unpredictable predictable (or the predictable unpredictable) choice:

Anyway, ticket-balancing is not the only successful approach, as Bill Clinton understood. When he clinched the Democratic nomination in 1992 as a Southern moderate, it was widely assumed he would pick a Northern liberal, as Jimmy Carter had.

Instead he chose a fellow Southern Baptist of his own generation with a reputation for moderation and congressional experience in national security issues, Al Gore. They were from adjoining Southern states and when the ticket was announced they met on the bridge between West Memphis, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee.

This unbalanced ticket won two elections, carrying six of 14 Southern states in both 1992 and 1996. Democratic nominees from Massachusetts, both with Southern running mates, carried none in 1988 and 2004.

A similar approach for Mitt Romney would be what opponents might call a double-vanilla ticket, with another white male as vice presidential nominee.

Four possibilities come to mind. One is Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman who endorsed Romney and campaigned with him all over Wisconsin. Romney has praised Ryan’s budget proposals and has endorsed the fundamentals of Ryan’s Medicare plan.

If Romney were to select Ryan, it would embolden Republicans and stun Democrats, who have done their best to suggest that Ryan — and, indeed, his entire budget — will be a liability in the general election. In fact, it’s Democrats’ lack of a plan to ensure the solvency of Medicare — Democrats’ desire to let Medicare go bust — that’s a liability if Republicans only have the temerity and tenacity to point that out relentlessly.

As always, though, Romney has a very deep bench from which to select a vice president. As long as his VP helps to mobilize the anti-Obama vote — on which Romney will undoubtedly depend for election — he should be fine.

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“Thanks to H. Ross Perot. That is the only reason, in our no run-off system, that they won at all. They never achieved a majority of the vote in either election. They never broke 50%!

The Clinton method only works in a fluke year with a split Conservative/Moderate Republican base via an extra candidate.”

Just so. Well stated. +10

GrassMudHorsey on April 19, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Who amongst you stayed at home the last go around and how many of you actually voted for the ONE? Thank you for Kagan and Sotomayor. The next president might have the opportunity to choose 2 to 3 SCOTUS justices.

racquetballer on April 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Condoleezza Rice for VP?

Better than a good idea. Not only does it obliterate the “war on women” meme once and for all, it may also draw in some of the black vote, she’s a Tea Party favorite, and wicked, wicked smart.

Rice v Biden in a debate? #areyoukidding?

Fish on April 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM

“She’d be a fine VP, especially if Israel and Iran blow up.”

@ cpaulus, 4/19/12, 11:48 AM

Condi’s beliefs regarding Israel/Palestinians are precisely why she should not be VP:

She has equated the cause of Palestinians in Gaza with Negroes’ situation in the 1960s US civil rights movement.

Anyone who is a sympathizer of the Palestinians’ goal is by definition in favor of Palestinians’ having ‘right-of-return’ to Israel as a condition of Palestinian/Israeli neighbor-states. ‘Right-of-return’ for Palestinians in that scenario would be the literal death-knell of Israel.

We do not need another pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel sympathizer anywhere near the oval office.

GGMac on April 19, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Has Rice answered whether or not she voted for Obama? If she will not answer, or if she did vote for him, then she is completely unsuitable to ever be President.

That applies to anyone (other than ignorant youngsters) who voted for Obama. Anyone who would choose Sotomayor and Kagan over whomever McCain would have appointed is seriously cracked in their thinking.

Rice is a Republican and was a Republican Administration’s Secretary of State. Refusing to say who she voted for in the name of “nonpartisanship” is a total crock.

fadetogray on April 19, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Condoleezza Rice for VP?

Better than a good idea. Not only does it obliterate the “war on women” meme once and for all, it may also draw in some of the black vote, she’s a Tea Party favorite, and wicked, wicked smart.

Rice v Biden in a debate? #areyoukidding?

Fish on April 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Forget the gimmicks. Condi is simply the most qualified candidate for VP. Her foreign policy experience and intelligence are without equal. She has executive experience in the private sector. She lacks legislative experience but maybe that’s more of a strength than a weakness. Imagine her as VP for 8 years and then becoming the first woman President in 2020?

HoosierStateofMind on April 19, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Regardless of her 2008 vote, she says she’s voting GOP this time.

Lothar on April 19, 2012 at 1:19 PM

She has executive experience in the private sector. HoosierStateofMind on April 19, 2012 at 12:33 PM

What executive experience in the private sector are you speaking of? Not familiar with any.

This identity demographic picking of a candidate is obcene for the Republican party voters to be engaging in.

Bottom line: Nothing can keep me from voting Obama out of office.Romney could pick Bill Mahr as a running mate, I’ll be there to vote for him.

He’s the last on my list, but Romney knows jobs.

Typicalwhitewoman on April 19, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Sorry, Tina..but unless Ms. Rice had a epiphany since 2010, she’s not going to run for VP.

Frankly why should she have to run through that fire again? After the crapola she went through as a Advisor and SecState, I wouldn’t be surprised if she wanted to stay out of the swamp gas of the Beltway.

That being said, do I think she could handle it and is qualified? Heck yes; but again, do you really think with a hostile media already carrying Obama’s water is going to hesitate to go easy on her especially after being a President Bush Cabinet member?

BlaxPac on April 19, 2012 at 1:24 PM

The debate between her and Biden would be something to DVR. It would be funny how out-matched that fool would be.

jeffn21 on April 19, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Ok, I admit voting for Perot. Not making that 3rd party mistake again. It’s unfortunate Romney is the best the Republicans can do. It’s worse that Obama is the best our country can do!

racquetballer on April 19, 2012 at 1:52 PM

I’ve taken it for granted at this point that anyone I might want to run doesn’t want the job. I don’t know what means… maybe the old saying “anyone that wants the job should never under any circumstances get it.”… Seems to apply to most US presidents.

Karmashock on April 19, 2012 at 2:25 PM

I don’t know why anyone thinks Condi voted for Obama. She never said who she voted for, but she was considered as a VP candidate for McCain, and basically shares his perspective on foreign and security policy. She clearly didn’t know much about Sarah Palin, but was always courteous and positive about her, as she was about McCain.

I share GGMac’s concern about her statements on the Palestinian Arabs, and I’ve had a sense that she does think Israel needs to make all the concessions in that turgid dynamic. It’s a concern. As VP, she wouldn’t be making policy on that, but if she were brought onto the ticket for foreign-policy gravitas, people would be right to expect her to have a strong influence. That said, what I would watch for is Romney’s likely picks for State and National Security Advisor.

J.E. Dyer on April 19, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I don’t know why anyone thinks Condi voted for Obama.

It springs from her positive comments about Obama’s election, and her refusal to say she voted for McCain.

Maybe it’s personal, like she doesn’t want to fight with family members about it, but it is odd. Republicans of stature within the party don’t usually have a problem saying they voted for the party’s candidate.

fadetogray on April 19, 2012 at 3:11 PM

On the Israeli-Palestinian issue, there is no way Condi Rice could be any worse than whoever Obama has now, which I think is Susan Power. (Or maybe it’s Susan Rice, he picked a lot of rabid left-wingers named Susan)

BKennedy on April 19, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Ryan would be a terrible pick.

He is desperately needed where he is to lead the House in making the dramatic cuts and reforms necessary to right our fiscal ship – his current budget plan is a good down payment on it, but only that.

Also, he lacks any administrative or executive experience to qualify him for President. Legislators make weak executives. Let him finish fixing the budget, then run to succeed Walker as Governor. After a term or two, he’ll be ready to run for the top job.

Don’t spoil young talent by rushing them to the big leagues too soon. Same goes for Rubio.

Adjoran on April 19, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Romney-Ryan or Romney-Kardashian.

Colony14 on April 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Ms Rice is not a staunch conservative. But I think she would be an excellent VP. Why? Because she is intelligent, vert experienced, attractive, personable, and could help the President in many areas of deplomicy

The VP is not a key figure in any admiistration. Cheney was perhaps the most influential, but he didn’t run the show.

Being an effictive VP is something aht Biden has been unable to accomplish. Bush did not always take his advice.

So, while not the perfect pick, I think Ms. Rice would be a good one.

BMF on April 19, 2012 at 7:05 PM

I could easily support her. At least I don’t believe we’d see pictures of her, with drinks in hand, flung over an airline seat. She’s smart, experienced, and hopefully she’s done some more homework concerning the Palestinians issue. I’d hate it if Romney picked her *because* she’s a woman and/or black. Can we just look at the person and determine who’s the best choice?

jatfla on April 20, 2012 at 6:11 PM