Rubio's Popularity Makes Him Conservative Front-runner for 2016, Says NYT's Nate Silver

Credit: Gage Skidmore via FoterCredit: Gage Skidmore via FoterThe New York Times' “FiveThirtyEight” blog boldly ventures that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) might be “The Electable Conservative” for 2016. Nate Silver’s write-up is not so revealing about Rubio (unless you weren’t already aware that he’s a conservative) but more so about the problem that plagues the Republican Party.

Aside from the fact that the GOP is little better—if at all—than the current administration when it comes to spending our money and allowing the government to get “all up in our bid-ness,” the Right suffers from a pretty substantial image problem. It’s just not cool to be a conservative.

And that’s exactly why Rubio is The NYT’s pick when it comes to electable conservatives. Although his Conservatism Score is solidly middle-of-the-pack (beating the current congressional average by only three percentage points), he’s not unpopular. And that's saying something. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), for example, has a favorability rating of only 32 percent, and he was only one election away from the White House.

On top of Rubio's likability, Silver points out that “Mr. Rubio is Hispanic and is from Florida.” As silly (if not discriminatory) as these qualifications would sound when interviewing for almost any other job in the world, these things actually matter when it comes to a presidential election.

Silver also touches on a couple other “ideologically similar candidates”—some of whom actually bring more to the table than a toe-the-party-line voting record and a persona that the public and media don’t dislike (yet).

Some of those candidates, like Mr. Ryan, can probably offer a richer intellectual defense of conservatism, or can claim to have been better vetted. Several others, like Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, have more executive experience.

None of that is going to matter down the line. Ryan was painted as a psycho when Mitt Romney picked him as his would-be-VP. And Jindal’s approval rating has been taking a nose-dive for the past three years, even in his home state.

This isn’t about who has the brightest ideas or who can communicate them clearest or with integrity. Winning the presidential election is largely about viral marketing. President Obama used that to his advantage, and it’s safe to say that Democrats will be employing (and improving upon) his methods for years to come. If the Republicans continue to support unmarketable candidates, they shouldn’t be surprised at all when they continue to lose.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    Silver also touches on a couple other “ideologically similar candidates”—some of whom actually bring more to the table than a tow-the-party-line voting record and a persona that the public and media don’t dislike (yet).

    That should be "tow the party lion," Walters. I'll let it slide this time because you're an intern.

  • ||

    No no, I'm pretty sure it's "toe the party lion".

  • Generic Stranger||

    Nope.

  • Calidissident||

    *Facepalm*

  • Paul.||

    Welcome to Hit & Run. New people are entitled to a continental breakfast in the lobby. Please display your name tag prominently so people can learn your name.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Party sounds like a cool lion, I'd hang out with him.

    Is he related to Tow the Blue?

  • Almanian!||

    You're thinking of Towed The Wet Sprocket

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    His name isn't party, that's just a description. Like party animal. In this case, the animal is a lion.

    His name is Mr. Whiskers.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Didn't he drink a sip of water during his State of the Union response?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It was funny.

    He was like a boy hiding his Playboy magazine.

  • A Concerned Citizen||

    And he somehow made it look completely ridiculous. He looked like a kid stealing a cookie with his eyes focused on the Teleprompter so he wouldn't lose his place.

    But I hope Rubio does run because I can't wait until the press digs into Rubio's history about his parents "fleeing" Castro or how he didn't pay his mortgage for 5 months or how he used his GOP credit card as a personal piggy bank.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Blah, blah, blah. *yawn* Paying attention to NYT analyses of Republicans is like listening to North Korea's criticisms of the U.S.

  • Jerry on the boat||

    40 years ago Nate Silver would have been a Kremlin watcher.

  • ||

    2016: Spic vs. Chick

  • Loki||

    This isn’t about who has the brightest ideas or who can communicate them clearest or with integrity. Winning the presidential election is largely about viral marketing promising moar free shit.

    FTFY.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Right.

    This past election was all about free birth control pills!

    And you wonder why the GOP can't connect?

  • entropy||

    It really was.

    Birth control, big bird, binders... nobody on either side came within firing distance of a coherent policy platform.

  • ||

    Well, finally right about something.

    It was about "look!! a kitty!!"

  • Paul.||

    And you wonder why the GOP can't connect?

    They didn't offer free birth control.

    Hell, Obama proved that he CAN deport and still get their support.

    Free van rides to Mexico!

  • Gladstone||

    So what's Rand's marketability? I'm sure if Reason will be running tons of these articles if he is losing on that point.

  • Gladstone||

    AP is misquoting his immigration position to be the exact opposite. Obviously his support for immigration reform means they won't call him a racist.

  • Gladstone||

    It’s just not cool to be a conservative

    It's even less cool to be a libertarian.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    This. We really are despised.

  • ||

    Speak fer yerself, nerd!

  • Not a Libertarian||

    This isn’t about who has the brightest ideas or who can communicate them clearest or with integrity. Winning the presidential election is largely about viral marketing. President Obama used that to his advantage, and it’s safe to say that Democrats will be employing (and improving upon) his methods for years to come. If the Republicans continue to support unmarketable candidates, they shouldn’t be surprised at all when they continue to lose.

    Then presumably there will never be another non-Democratic President. End of History?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Viral marketing? Pay no attention to the MSM slobbering all over BO's cock and painting his opponent as an evil monocled capitalist exploiter and woman-hater for nine months.

    Silver is a total hack. I called it first. I know I'm supposed to be impressed that he called Utah for Romney and Rhode Island for Obama, but for some reason skepticism seems warranted.

  • Paul.||

    Wasn't Zogby on top of the world back in the 90s?

  • Mike M.||

    It's really easy to do viral marketing when 90% of the so-called mainstream media are your marketing agency.

    The republicans can't win because they're playing a rigged game, like a runner being forced to race on one leg.

  • RyanXXX||

    Are we really starting this bullshit speculation this early? Fuck me, it's gonna be a long four years

  • Gladstone||

    It's never too early to speculate on 2020!

  • ||

    Psh, stop thinking so short term. RoboGingrich 2064!

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