Conventional wisdom is that a Vice-Presidential selection can only hurt a candidate. Traditionally, the role has a been a high risk, low reward proposition for candidates selecting a number two to share the ticket. The right choice is, it seems, the boring choice. A mostly non-offensive person in a suit who avoids making too many gaffes.
As Mitt Romney prepares to make his choice, two new surveys out from Public Policy Poling show that an unconventional choice could, just maybe, make a big difference. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could, it seems, provide a significant lift for Mitt Romney if she were selected as his running mate.
In two key battleground states, Rice makes a major difference.
A poll of Pennsylvania voters shows that while President Obama leads Romney in the state 49% to 43%, that lead disappears entirely when Rice joins the ticket.
In Michigan, a state not generally considered in play right now but where Romney has his familial roots, the survey shows that 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.
The pollsters tested several other possible running mates, but none provided nearly the same boost that Rice offered.
The biggest obstacle for Romney is that Rice, who is pro-choice, is considered unacceptable by the social conservative wing of the party.