Elizabeth Warren is the only one among Hillary Clinton’s oft-mentioned potential running mates who is well known, but the Massachusetts senator also happens to be the most polarizing of the group, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll.
The others – Housing Secretary Julian Castro of Texas, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Rep. Xavier Becerra of California – are largely unknown. Half of those polled, or more, had not heard of the possible vice presidential picks.
In contrast, Warren is known to 77 percent of the country. But just 33 percent of voters see her favorably, while 33 percent do not like her. She is unpopular with Republicans and conservatives, but 1 in 3 independents also have an unfavorable impression of her.
“Democrats like her and the nation as a whole is divided,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the nationwide poll.
Clinton will choose a vice president before Democrats gather in Philadelphia on July 25-28 for their national convention.
Warren could help Clinton with liberal supporters who originally preferred her rival, Bernie Sanders, for the Democratic nomination. Rank-and-file Democrats have a favorable opinion of her by a rate of 58-12 while the very liberal have a favorable opinion of her by a rate of 65-13.
Miringoff said Warren could help Clinton with white college graduates, who favor her by 47-29 percent, a demographic that is not usually carried by Democratic candidates.
Charles Kenney, 53, a senior software developer from Kansas City, Mo., wanted Warren to run for president, and now wishes she would become vice president. “I love Warren’s passion,” he said. “I love her platform and what she stands for.”
Clinton and Warren are not close – the senator did not endorse Clinton until after she secured enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee. But they recently campaigned together in front of about 2,600 enthusiastic supporters.
Denise Brassard, 58, of Altadena, Calif., praised Warren for attacking presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in a way that nobody else has had the guts to do, but doesn’t think Clinton will pick her.
“I think the country’s probably not ready for two women, unfortunately,” she said. “It shouldn't matter whether someone is male or female or black or white or whatever race, but I don’t know that the whole country is ready for that.”
Americans have gradually come to accept the concept of a female president. In 1937, only 1 in 3 Americans polled said they would vote for a qualified woman for president, according to Gallup. By 2015, it had expanded to more than 9 in 10. But there’s little research on whether they would favor an all-female ticket.
As a woman, I want women in power, but I don’t think two women on the ticket will work. The country’s made great strides, but there would be a reaction where people say, ‘I don’t know about that.’ So I’m not sure we’re ready for that.
Margaret Stock, 55, retired college professor in Butler, Pa.
Warren is considered to be on the short list of candidates being actively considered, along with Kaine and Castro. Others mentioned include Becerra, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; Tom Perez, the secretary of labor. Klobuchar is sometimes mentioned as an alternative to Warren if Clinton is looking for a female candidate.
Clinton held meetings related to the vice presidential search at her Washington home Friday, according to her campaign. Reporters outside her house spotted Warren, Castro as well as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
But many people polled said in interviews that they actually prefer Sanders, the 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist who tapped into anger brewing in the country to galvanize a new crop of voters as a champion of the underpaid, overworked American.
“People want a change,” said Marilyn Mordes, 61, an unemployed nurse from Stuart, Fla. “Bernie is a different politician. He offers a different perspective yet with a democratic flair.”
Personally if I was Hillary Clinton, I would pick Bernie Sanders. . . .They can work on his policies and hers at the same time. That’s just common sense to me.
Barbara Goebel, 56, an unemployed resident of Archer, Fla.
Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, is blank slate to 47 percent of the country, even in the South. If he were chosen, his strongest support, at least initially, would come from the very liberal.
“I think he’s a young and upcoming politician,” said Michael Washington, 59, a maintenance supervisor in Houston, Texas.
Kaine, a former governor who is fluent in Spanish, tops most insiders’ lists because he is considered a safe bet for the usually cautious presumptive Democratic nominee. He was one of Clinton’s first supporters, endorsing her in May 2014, has executive experience and hails from a swing state.
He is better known than Castro, but just barely. Nearly half of voters, 45 percent, have never heard of him. Even in the South, only one in four view him favorably. But his support comes from liberals, moderates and conservatives. The biggest criticism against Kaine is that the centrist politician wouldn’t likely help Clinton excite the liberal wing that Sanders energized.
Kaine's more moderate views would likely “have a good appeal,” said John Schwarz, 70, a retired attorney from Reston, Va., who attended a rally with Clinton and Kaine Thursday. “He would be a good pick,” he said. “I think he's done a good job.”
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Beccera, the son of Mexican immigrants who has represented downtown Los Angeles for more than two decades, is not known by 65 percent. Klobuchar, a lawyer who has served since 2007, is not known by 60 percent. If either were chosen, their strongest support, at least initially, would come from the very liberal.
Clinton has not said when she would name a running mate but some Democrats expect she will announce her pick July 22 after the Republican National Convention ends.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential choice Friday.
Megan Henney and Eleanor Mueller contributed to this article.
This survey of 1,249 adults was conducted July 5-9, 2016 by The Marist Poll sponsored and funded in partnership with McClatchy. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone using live interviewers. Landline telephone numbers were randomly selected based upon a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation from ASDE Survey Sampler, Inc. The exchanges were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population. Respondents in the household were randomly selected by first asking for the youngest male. This landline sample was combined with respondents reached through random dialing of cell phone numbers from Survey Sampling International. After the interviews were completed, the two samples were combined and balanced to reflect the 2013 American Community Survey 1-year estimates for age, gender, income, race, and region. Results are statistically significant within plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. There are 1,053 registered voters. The results for this subset are statistically significant within plus or minus 3.0 percentage points. The error margin was not adjusted for sample weights and increases for cross-tabulations.