I’d be inclined to pay attention to what Silver has to say. He proved his mettle in the last election (actually, I always paid attention to what he had to say, because try as I might to poke holes in it during 2012 because I didn’t like his message, I was unsuccessful).
So what does Silver have to say about Rubio? The first thing is that he’s no RINO:
The last two Republican presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, had a score of 39 by comparison, meaning that they were more moderate than Mr. Rubio. Mr. Rubio is also rated as being to the right of Ronald Reagan, who had a score of 44, and George W. Bush, who had a score of 46. Among Republican presidential nominees since 1960, in fact, only the extraordinarily conservative Barry Goldwater, who had a score of 67, rates as being more conservative than Mr. Rubio.
And Rubio’s a good representative of Republican voters, and therefore well-positioned to win the primaries:
…[M]y contention that Mr. Rubio is a good representative of the Republican Party as it stands today.
This is a potentially advantageous position for a Republican competing in the presidential primaries. In both parties, nominees have usually come from the center of their parties, rather than from the moderate or the “extreme” wings. There are exceptions: Mr. Reagan, although he would fit right into the Republican Party today, was much more conservative than most of his contemporaries in 1980. But in general, Mr. Rubio is pretty close to the sweet spot of where a presidential nominee might want to be.
Unfortunately, Silver has almost nothing to say about how Rubio would do in a national election. That’s probably smart of Silver; it is awfully early, to be sure. And the Democratic attack machine has only been warming up its engines.
As for me, I’ve decided who I’m supporting in 2016, at least for the moment. I have no idea whether he will decide to run, but if he does—and if the election were to be held today (wish it were!)—I’d choose Scott Walker. He’s conservative and he’s smart and he’s proven that he’s brave and a fighter. Those qualities are very appealing.
[NOTE: Should I start a category for “Election 2016”?]