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A vice presidential sieve: Part I

Thirteen states are rated tossups in the 2012 presidential election.  Combined, their electoral college votes total 161. That’s 60 percent of the 270 needed to become President.  Not surprisingly, the Republican presidential nominee (whomever he might be) would like to pick a running mate from one of those states.

His first choice would be a popular governor from the swing state with the most electoral votes.  That state would be Florida, with 29.  But how popular is Gov. Rick Scott?  On March 28, a Quinnipiac University poll showed that 52 percent of those polled disapproved of his job performance.  Only 36 percent approved.  The rest were undecided.

Four other states have a similar problem. In Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16) and Wisconsin (10), Governors Tom Corbett, John Kasich, Rick Snyder and Scott Walker are regarded with less than the highest esteem in their respective states.

Also, eliminate North Carolina (15), Missouri (10), Colorado (9) and Vermont (4), because Governors Beth Perdue, Jay Nixon, John Hickenlooper and Peter Shumlin probably would not leave the Democratic Party to seek the vice presidency on a Republican ticket.

But March 21 in Virginia (13), Gov. Bob McDonnell scored a 53 percent approval rating. That wouldn’t be too bad, except that it is down from 58 percent in February, before he signed a bill making it harder for women to get abortions and became known as Governor Transvaginal Probe. This early front-runner may have come up lame.

Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa (6) had an approval rating of 56 percent in March. And in late February, Public Opinion Strategies found Gov. Brian Sandoval of  Nevada (6) to have an approval rating of 63 percent. Would, let’s say Mitt Romney, forgive him for endorsing Rick Perry?

Then there is Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico (5). On March 29, she registered a favorability rating of 66 percent. Arguably, she is the most popular governor in the country.

Though the number of its electoral votes exceeds only Vermont’s, New Mexico is a swing state.  And the nation’s first Latina governor might appeal to a couple of voting blocs that could very well prove important in November.

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