Geraldine A. Ferraro, in the home stretch of the 1984 election campaign, today praised running mate Walter F. Mondale as someone who lives "in the real world, not Fantasy Island."

Contrasting Mondale with President Reagan, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee told a crowd of 12,000 at Michigan State University, "Fritz Mondale is a lawyer, not an actor. He deals with fact, not fiction. He lives in the real world, not Fantasy Island. You know where he's going because you know where he's been," she said.

Ferraro also had some stinging advice for Vice President Bush.

"Yesterday, George Bush said, and I quote, 'I'd hate to be on a ticket with Walter Mondale this year.' Well, George, let me put your mind at ease. We wouldn't have you," she said.

Ferraro said that when she had been asked by a reporter whether she could envision running on the same ticket with Reagan, she replied, "I could never be a cheerleader for the covert war in Nicaragua. I could never be a cheerleader for an arms race that's going to take off into space.

"I do have some principles, and I want to stick with them," she said, "so I could never be on a ticket with Ronald Reagan anytime."

The crowd here, with a sprinkling of pro-Reagan posters, was as appreciative as any Ferraro has faced in her many campus appearances in the last three months.

One of the placards suggested, "Put Our Soldiers' Lives in the Hands of a Mother." Another sign, draped from a classroom, read, "Paleontologists and Archeologists for Mondale/Ferraro -- No Bones About It."

The candidate appeared to be in particularly good spirits Saturday night in Chicago, where she threw a cocktail party in her hotel suite for the traveling press.

She later joined a press party downstairs, demonstrating agility on the dance floor with her 20- year-old son, John, while a deejay played Motown songs from the 1960s.

Ferraro was introduced today by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who said of the candidate, "Heck, she's strong . . . . She's strong enough not to be patronized by George Bush. She's strong enough to smile at the pollsters. You know, those are the folks who picked the British in 1776."