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Gingrich, Carson Are Early GOP Veep Favorites

Monday, May 16, 2016

Republicans feel even more strongly than other voters that their party’s vice presidential nominee is key to their vote this year, and Ben Carson and Newt Gingrich are early favorites for the job.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of all likely voters say the vice presidential nominee will be important to how they vote in the upcoming presidential election, but that includes only 33% who say it is Very Important. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 23% consider a candidate’s running mate unimportant to their vote, although only five percent (5%) say it’s Not At All Important. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Given the angry divide among Republicans over Donald Trump’s candidacy, it’s interesting to note that 85% of Republicans view the vice presidential nominee as important to their vote, compared to 77% of Democrats and 70% of voters not affiliated with either major party. Still, GOP voters (34%) are slightly less likely than Democrats (37%) to say the candidate in the number two slot is Very Important to how they will vote.

Numerous names are being floated as possible Trump running mates, but the presumptive GOP presidential candidate isn’t saying much other than he has a short list he is considering. Rasmussen Reports asked voters about five of the more prominent names in circulation and not surprisingly the best-known are the top vote-getters at this early juncture: 20% of Republicans like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as a vice presidential nominee, while just as many (19%) prefer former presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker earns 12% support for the number two slot among his fellow Republicans. Two prominent women possibilities, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, are the choice of nine percent (9%) and seven percent (7%) of GOP voters respectively. But one-in-four Republicans like some other candidate, while eight percent (8%) are undecided.

Among all voters, Gingrich (16%) and Carson (14%) are the leaders, followed by Walker (8%), Haley (8%) and Martinez (6%). But nearly half of voters are looking elsewhere, with 32% choosing some other candidate and 15% undecided.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 11-12, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Rasmussen Reports will release numbers on how some of the possible contenders for the Democratic vice presidential slot stack up.

So far the Clinton-Trump race looks like it’s going to be a close one

Women place more importance on the vice presidential nominee than men do. 

Whites don’t rate a candidate’s running mate as important to their vote as blacks and other minority voters do.

Voters who say the vice presidential nominee is Very Important to their upcoming vote prefer Carson most of all.

Despite the surprising success of rival Bernie Sanders, Democrats remain overwhelmingly convinced that Clinton is their party's likely presidential nominee for 2016.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Democrats believe the Democratic Party should be more like Clinton, but 39% say it should be more like Sanders. Twelve percent (12%) say the party should be like neither one.

Similarly, 47% of GOP voters now believe the Republican Party should be more like Trump than like House Speaker Paul Ryan. Thirty-two percent (32%) disagree and say the GOP should be more like Ryan. Seventeen percent (17%) opt for neither. Ryan met with Trump last week but still has not endorsed the party’s likely presidential nominee.

It's been said over the years that male political candidates need to be careful how they campaign against female opponents to avoid the appearance of bullying or sexism, but voters strongly disagree. 

Vice President Joe Biden in a recent interview said he “would have been the best president” had he chosen to run in 2016, but most voters disagree.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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