Harry Enten dispels the Rubio mirage once and for all (via Andrew):
Not surprisingly, then, there’s little sign that Marco Rubio really appeals to non-Cuban Latinos. In his 2010 run for Senate, Rubio ran 10 points weaker among non-Cuban Latinos, at 40%, than among Floridians at large (50%). That’s little better than McCain’s 33% support among non-Cuban Latinos in Florida. Rubio gained only 7 percentage points on McCain’s baseline among Latinos, even though he pulled a higher percentage of the overall vote than McCain did in Florida.
I had been assuming that any appeal among Latinos Rubio did have would be mostly limited to Cubans, and Enten’s figures seem to confirm this. The story here isn’t that Rubio isn’t going to help the Republican ticket, but that so many Republicans are already invested in the idea that Rubio is the obvious choice for Romney’s running mate. I can’t recall a recent example where there was so much activist and pundit support for a possible VP nominee so early, especially when the politician in question wasn’t a presidential a candidate. Why do Republican Rubio enthusiasts expect Latino voters to respond so favorably to Rubio when many of them would regard a similar maneuver by Democrats to be insulting tokenism?
Should Romney make the “wrong” choice by picking someone else, we can expect no end to the complaining about it that will follow from then until November. In that scenario, the Rubio VP nomination-that-could-have-been will become the new fantasy candidate obsession for disaffected Republicans. No matter how well the eventual VP candidate performs in debates, there will probably be a steady stream of articles claiming that Rubio would have done better. Maybe it would be better to put Rubio on the ticket just to test the proposition and prove that it was a misguided idea.