Romney's Running Mate: Many Potential Nominees Are Not Well-Known To Public

May 02, 2012, 4:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 4/28/2012) With former Governor Mitt Romney effectively locking up the Republican presidential nomination, political pundits have turned en masse to the question of who his running mate in the fall campaign will be. This week, the Economist/YouGov poll began asking respondents about their knowledge and opinions of many of the names that have been floated as possible GOP vice-presidential nominees.

Over 80% of respondents indicated they know at least a little about four potential nominees: former Alaska Governor and 2008 nominee Sarah Palin, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Of these well-known potential nominees, former Secretary of State Rice enjoys the highest favorability rating – 70% of respondents who know at least a little about Rice have a favorable view of her. Respondents are nearly evenly split about Bush, but most have a negative view about Santorum and Palin.

Then there are a set of possible candidates who also enjoy substantial name recognition, but not to the same degree as the first four. These include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, CIA Director and former Army General David Petraeus, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Of these potential nominees, Petraeus is the most popular, with 77% favorability among those who have heard of him. The public is mostly favorable toward Christie and Rubio, but is closely divided in terms of favorability among the other four men in this group.

Finally, there are a set of possible candidates who are complete unknowns among at least half of the American public. These include Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels,
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Daniels is the most well-liked of this group of potential nominees. The rest of the individuals in this group are viewed favorably by slightly more than half of respondents who know something about them.