Florida Senator Marco Rubio is the most popular choice for Mitt Romney's running mate, a new poll released Thursday showed. With the veep decision looming, pundits speculate about who would be the best ticket mate for the former Massachusetts governor.
Among a field of seven possible vice presidential choices, Rubio came out ahead, claiming 28 percent of respondents in the CNN/ORC poll.
Tied for a distant second were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, both at 16 percent. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty all garnered under 10 percent each.
The numbers represent a significant boost for Rubio, who clinched only 12 percent of respondents in a mid-July Fox News poll. The winner in that poll was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has since said she would not accept the job if offered.
Pundits have speculated putting Rubio on the ticket would help Romney in Rubio's home state of Florida as well as among Latino voters. A May Suffolk University poll shows putting Rubio on the ticket could give Romney a three-point lead over Obama in the crucial state.
Some also believe choosing lesser-known Virginia Governor McDonnell could be a good move for Romney, as his numbers in the vital swing state continue to decline. In that state, the margin has widened from 44-44 (Obama-Romney) in July to 49-45 this month, according to separate Quinnipiac and Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News polls.
Rubio lies somewhere in the middle - at 48 percent - of the other possible veeps when it comes to home state favorability, whereas McDonnell's numbers are much higher at 55 percent. Jindal was at the top at 61 percent and Portman at the bottom at 33 percent.
These numbers could be crucial going forward as running mate choices historically have added little to the ticket, except for a 2 percent possible boost in the veep's home state.
But a jump in Romney's numbers are expected after he makes the announcement. The CNN/ORC poll released Thursday shows Romney could use a lift, as the margin between him and President Barack Obama continues to widen. Currently, Obama claims 52 percent of registered voters and 53 percent of all Americans, while Romney lags at 45/42.
The Romney campaign has been ramping up for the VP decision, which is expected to be announced before the Republican convention in Tampa at the end of August. On Thursday, Romney added more fuel to the fire when he told NBC News what he was looking for in a running mate.
"I certainly expect to have a person that has a strength of character, a vision for the country that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country," Romney said.
He added, "I happen to believe this is a defining election for America, that we're going to be voting for what kind of America we're going to have."
by RTT Staff Writer
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