Key Republican leaders from coast to coast are sending a message to expected GOP candidate Ronald Reagan: Balance the ticket with "moderate" George Bush in the No. 2 spot.
A Monitor survey of 162 state chairmen and national committeemen and women discloses that of 87 responding, 45 prefer Mr. Bush as the vice-presidential nominee. Another 11 "voted" for Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. of Tennessee.
There has long been strong support for former UN Ambassador Bush in the GOP National Committee, stemming from the period during the Nixon administration when he served as Republican national chairman.
Last July a Monitor survey of this same group of leaders found Mr. Bush leading Mr. Reagan as the preferred presidential candidate. But at the same time these GOP leaders said they saw Mr. Reagan as the front-runner for the presidential nomination.
Rep. Jack F. Kemp of New York was the third most popular vice-presidential choice, being named by eight leaders; Gerald Ford was the choice of four. Those who received two first-preference votes included former US Ambassador to Britain Anne Armstrong, Rep. Guy Vander Jagt of Michigan, and Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina. Those getting one vote included: Rep. Philip M. Crane of Illinois, Sen. Paul Laxalt of Nevada, former Texas Gov. John B. Connally, former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. of Connecticut, Gov. William G. Milliken of Michigan, and Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana.
The leaders also were asked to name their "second choice" for vice-president. As might be expected by the results in the "first choice" totals, Senator Baker was first on this "second choice" list, followed by Congressman Kemp. But Senator Lugar, not former President Ford, was third on this list.
On a separate question, the leaders responded resoundingly that they wanted to have the ticket balanced with a "moderate running mate."
But some of the answers to another question, as to whether the leaders thought the No. 2 person should be philosophically in line with Mr. Reagan, seemed to conflict with this "balanced ticket" concept. It appeared that some of these leaders thought it was possible for the ticket to have "balance" without the running mate being "out of line" philosophically with the former California governor.
Influential members of the Reagan camp are counseling that he select a running mate who would pretty much echo his conservative philosophy. Their rationale is that since Mr. Reagan has decided to keep "moderate" Bill Brock as GOP national chairman, he should make a move to appease the right wing of the party by selecting a conservative as his No. 2.
(Mr. Reagan, in a Washington news conference June 19, said the 1980 GOP vice-presidential nominee should be "someone who would share in and believe in the policies I've been interested in" and "someone presidential in qualifications."
("I'm really not standing here with someone in mind and playing coy," he said. "I really haven't made that decision.")