Two new surveys by Public Policy Poling show that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could greatly benefit Mitt Romney as his running mate in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Michigan.
The poll of Pennsylvania voters shows that while President Obama leads Romney in the state 49 percent to 43 percent, that lead is entirely erased when Rice is listed as Romney’s vice presidential candidate. Not since George H.W. Bush topped Michael Dukakis in the the state in 1988 has a Republican presidential nominee carried Pennsylvania.
In Michigan, Rice reduces Obama’s lead over Romney from 14 percentage points without anyone listed as his running mate to eight percentage points with her listed as the VP nominee, according to the PPP survey of the state.
PPP also tested other potential Romney running mates in Pennsylvania and Michigan, such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. None help Romney as much as Rice — and some seem to hurt Romney.
Pawlenty reduces Romney’s deficit in Pennsylvania from six percentage points to four percentage points. In Michigan, he doesn’t seem to help or hurt.
Jindal helps Romney narrow the race in Pennsylvania from six percentage points down to five percentage points down. But in Michigan, Jindal seems to make matters worse for Romney, dragging him from a 14 percentage point deficit down to 17 percentage points in the hole.
As for Portman, he hurts Romney in both states, making matters worse for him by one percentage point in each, according to the polls.
PPP last polled these states in May. Obama had exactly the same percentage point lead over Romney in Michigan back then. In Pennsylvania, the gap has narrowed since May from Obama up eight percentage points to Obama up six percentage points.
Rice, who is pro-choice, is not seen as a leading contender to be Romney’s running mate and has said she doesn’t want the job. (SEE ALSO: Aide says Rice still not interested in being vice president)
PPP is a Democratic-leaing polling firm that conducts its polls through automated phone interviews. In Pennsylvania, 758 voters were surveyed with a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points while in Michigan 579 voters were surveyed with a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.