Troy Senik lauds Rubio in his discussion of potential VP nominees:
The almost painfully obvious choice. Energizes conservatives, but would attract moderates. Comes from the vote-rich electoral battleground of Florida. Creates inroads to Hispanic voters without pandering (anyone who sees Rubio on the stump will know that he was not chosen on the basis of identity politics). Best of all, it tees him up for a future presidential bid, regardless of whether Romney wins or loses.
Is there anything in this summary that is correct? As far as I can see, there is just one. Selecting Rubio as the VP nominee would energize conservatives. None of these other things would happen as Senik describes. If we look at the 2010 exit polls, we find that Rubio underperformed among moderates compared to Republicans nationally. What is it specifically about him that would attract moderates? Rubio comes from a vote-rich battleground state, but the evidence so far suggests that he would not help the Republican ticket in Florida as VP and might even become a drag on it. The assumption that he can make “inroads” with Hispanic voters outside Florida is based almost entirely on his ethnicity and nothing else. To the extent that they know who Rubio is, most Hispanic voters nationally are not supportive, and one reason for this is that the ideological gap between them and Rubio is so large. If Romney selects him as VP and Romney loses, Rubio will join a long list of defeated VP nominees that never become their party’s nominee. Unless a Romney-Rubio ticket prevailed this year, Rubio’s selection as running mate would mean that any future presidential bid would probably fail.