Friday, August 10, 2012 at 04:43PM
Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com, one of my favorite numbers crunching sites, has an interesting analysis on the Mitt Romney Veep front. I don't agree with the conclusion, but it's fascinating. Silver goes through hoops to come up with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell as most likely to help Romney if you just look at one state. McDonnell is up 24 points in popularity in his home state (55-31) while it's only 16 points for Rubio (48-32). Paul Ryan, the flavor of the day, is only up 38-33 in his home state of Wisconsin.
Tim Pawlenty actually has a negative eight rating (37-45) in Minnesota while Rick Santorum is the only other in negative territory, down 11 (37-48 In Pennsylvania).
Silver also agrees with Larry Sabato that Romney needs to win Florida on his own to have a real serious chance with hitting the magic number of 270 electoral votes, so help in Florida won't be enough.
I say this is a misreading of history as pundits say that a Veep choice can at most help by a couple of points in his or her home state.
Consider this as I still push for Rubio. Pundits are fond of saying that the last time a Veep choice mattered was in 1960 when LBJ helped JFK carry Texas, but read the new Johnson biography, Passage of Power (by Robert Cano, the fourth in his series of LBJ), and see if you don't agree that LBJ's whistle stop stumping helped JFK not only in Texas but throughout the south which had reservations about a Massachusetts liberal.
It's time that some talking head point that out and note that Rubio could do the same thing, not in the south this time, but he could help both in Florida and in western states (Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico) and some eastern states with large Hispanic populations. Even if Rubio improved Romney's standing only a few points with Hispanics, it could be more of a help than he would be in Florida, and I continue to insist that banking those 29 electoral votes is more critical than hoping to get Virginia back. Wins in places like Colorado, Iowa, and NH could offset the loss of Virginia; nothing can help Romney if he loses Florida, and Rubio's 16 point plus favorability at home is nothing to sneeze at.
Besides, Rubio polls ten points more than any other when Republicans are asked who they'd like to see number two.
If it can't be Rubio, it better not be Pawlenty.
I still like the thought of making Democrats attack a black woman (yes that would be Condi) if it can't be Rubio.