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Congressional Insiders Poll

Which type of politician would make the best choice for Mitt Romney to tap as vice president?

DEMOCRATS (19 Votes)

Member of Congress: 37%
Governor: 16%
Former officeholder: 21%
Other (volunteered): 26%


Member of Congress

“I still believe that a member of Congress with a following outside his/her district can be of great help to any ticket.”

“Member of Congress [for] balance and so at least someone on the ticket has an inescapable policy record.”


Former officeholder

“Romney can’t win without Florida, so begging Jeb Bush to join the ticket may be his only shot.”

“Go for [Sarah] Palin—she’ll add color to an otherwise gray candidate!”



“None of the above. Because Mitt Romney is a former governor, it doesn’t matter which type of politician he selects as his running mate.”

“It depends on the person. The office held is important but secondary.”

“Doesn’t matter. He should make a pick that accomplishes the unthinkable: [Show] that Romney is a candidate worth taking seriously and not just a windsock who will say and do anything to get elected. Good luck.”

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“Any of the above. It’s who, not what.”

“None of the above. Romney has ‘governor’ covered. Unfortunately, America thinks all politicians are tainted, particularly D.C.-based pols, so he should avoid them. He should pick someone who has never held elective office if possible. Having said that, I hope he picks [Rick] Santorum or [Newt] Gingrich.”


Which type of politician would make the best choice for Mitt Romney to tap as vice president? 


Member of Congress: 26%
Governor: 39%
Former officeholder: 9%
Other (volunteered): 26%

Member of Congress

“Someone with experience and connections in Congress (current or former) for VP might be very helpful to Gov. Romney as a candidate and as president.”


“Romney needs a governor. He needs a safe pick—first priority, do no harm.”

Former officeholder

“[A] former officeholder, like Santorum.”

“Former member [of Congress]—or someone with excellent defense/foreign-relations bona fides. Romney has the economy waterfront covered, but it is entirely possible this election ends up being about security issues. [John] McCain was focused on defense, and that election turned into the economy election at the end.”


“What matters is the person’s credibility on jobs, not their current job.”

“Since he’s a former governor, either a governor or member of Congress works. Conservative, respected, positive, and battleground-state [ties] are keys.”

“All of the above. Politically, a governor or former officeholder would probably be best right now, but Mitt Romney needs someone he can trust who will work the Hill. Ask any member, and they’ll tell you Obama failed miserably at the task.”

“The individual matters, not title/background.”

“Who the nominee is will be much more important than his or her former position or office.”

“Usually governor, but they are in short supply. There is only [Chris] Christie among the current crop. The best choice would be Jeb Bush—but he will never allow that to happen. If Romney fails, Jeb is ‘next up to bat.’  ”


Of the most-talked-about congressional candidates, who would be the best pick for VP? 

DEMOCRATS (19 Votes)

Sen. Marco Rubio: 11%
Sen. Rob Portman: 58%
Rep. Paul Ryan: 21%
Sen. Kelly Ayotte: 5%
Sen. John Thune: 0%
Other: 5%


“Perhaps not the strongest policy voice in the group, but probably the only one to add anything politically.”


“He will be a solid, well-vetted candidate who is also a family man who can sell to Middle America.”

“The best in a weak field.”

“He’s dull, but serious and could actually make the case that Romney is serious, sort of. The Bush connection might be a problem, but the rest of the choices have even bigger deficiencies.”

This article appears in the May 12, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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