Veepstakes: A New Poll Shows Voters' First Choice

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

One of the burning questions of the 2024 presidential election so far — and Lord knows we haven’t had many burning questions — is that of whom Donald Trump will pick as his running mate. The former president has dropped a few hints, and there’s been plenty of speculation.


But what do voters think? If somehow Trump put the question to his base, whom would they choose? A new poll from I&I/TIPP gives us an indication.

The pollsters asked 538 Republicans (I don’t know if that number was on purpose or a happy coincidence) over the first weekend in May. The margin of error is a little high at +/-4.3, but since it’s a purely speculative question, that’s not too big a deal.

I&I/TIPP gave respondents 21 names, along with an option of “not sure.” The results aren’t a massive shock:

The big winner is no surprise: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who collected 15% of the support. No one else received double-digit backing as top choice.

Trailing DeSantis were former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley (8%), author-entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (7%), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (7%), surgeon and former Health Secretary Ben Carson (5%), former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (5%), South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (4%), former Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (3%), and TV commentator Tucker Carlson (3%).

Mike Pompeo, Kari Lake, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) all garnered 2%, while Gov. Doug Burgum (R-N.D.), Gen. Mike Flynn, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-Dog Killer), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) all picked up 1% support. Lee Zeldin and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) all polled at zero. But the biggest surprise might be that “not sure” won with 27%.


The pollsters also asked voters for their second choice:

There, things shifted a bit. Yes, DeSantis holds the top spot again, at 14%. But he's followed by Scott, Carson, Haley, and Abbott, all at 5%. The next tier begins with Gabbard at 4%, and Rubio, Ramaswamy, Noem and Carlson pulling in 3% backing. The remainder of the list, as enumerated above, all got 2% or less support.

But this time, the "not sures" fell to 7%.

I&I/TIPP compiled the results of both questions into a nice little chart:


The voters in this poll don’t seem to care about the 12th Amendment, which states that the president and vice president can’t come from the same state. It would not be an insurmountable problem if Trump picked DeSantis, but I also don’t see it happening. The results do suggest one thing: voters want Trump to choose someone similar to his choice of Mike Pence in 2016.

They plainly seek a vice president who is steady, experienced, popular and accomplished, a known quantity and not a pick out of left field. If elected, Trump will have just four years to enact his agenda.

That's why voters seem to favor DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy, Carson, Scott, and Gabbard, all with the exception of Ramaswamy having Washington experience. And that's also something that Trump, who had never been elected to public office in 2016, now has.


Of course, we’ll have to wait and see who Trump chooses. Hopefully, it’s someone the base will appreciate.


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