It's week 2 of our weekly installment of vice-presidential power rankings for Mitt Romney. My goal here is to predict with some accuracy who Mitt Romney will choose as his running mate for his presidential run. Week 1 is listed here.
1. Marco Rubio Senator from Florida. Rubio is still the front-runner. A columnist for the LA Times has written that Rubio will not be the choice a) because he is not ready b) his anti-immigration stances and c) that he might be too young or too charismatic and people might end up liking Rubio more so than Romney. Additionally, Rubio might not agree with Romney on everything which could be a problem with Romney as he has tried to keep those with him in line. He has only been a Senator since 2010. He has a 100% score on the National Right to Life Committee and 0% score on NARAL Pro-Choice America score. He received a score of 75% from National Journal's Conservative on Economic Policy. He received a score of 84% on National Journal's Conservative on Foreign Policy. He has received an A grade from the NRA and 100% from the Gun Owners of America. The Family Research Council gave him a 100% for his positions.
2. Rob Portman- If Romney thinks that picking Portman will help him win in Ohio, he might be right. Nate Silver on The New York Times blog "Five Thirty-Eight", Silver mentions that the vice-president nominee is typically only worth a couple of percentage points in the home state of the vice-president candidate. In critical swing states, such as Ohio this year, the couple of percentage points might win the state. Even more so, it might swing the election. Ohio is one of the battleground states in this election. Ohio might be just close enough that a couple of percentage points could swing the election. Portman aditionally brings over some foreign policy experience which Romney lacks. Current Vice President Joe Biden has already criticized Mitt Romney's foreign policy skills calling them outdated. He has consistently been scoring high for pro-choice scores. He leans slightly to the right according to the National Journal's Conservatives on Foreign Policy score.
3. Kelly Ayotte- Apparently, she was taken by surprise by the rumors of Romney floating her name as a Vice-Presidential candidate. She has said that she will continue to look towards running for Senate in New Hampshire. Like I've mentioned before, some of the qualities that she brings is that she is young, she might be able to bridge the gender gap, and Romney has been an early supporter of her Senate candidacy. The problem is that she is young and inexperienced. Additionally, she is from New Hampshire which would provide the Republican party with an all New England ticket which might splinter the party's votes slightly.
4. Jim DeMint- DeMint is a Tea Party candidate who has been building up his political capital over the last few years. He was elected in the Tea Party Wave of 2010 which means he does not have the experience that Romney might be looking for; however, he does have foreign policy experience. While it is not much foreign policy experience, it is more than Romney has. A Romney/DeMint campaign would focus on electrifying the Tea Party base of the Republican party and could bring even more activists to the Republican side. The problem with this is that moderates would not want to vote for this ticket because it is playing up more to the Republican side.
5. Paul Ryan- He is one of the favorites for the candidacy because according to polling numbers he is one of the highest electable vice president candidates out there. The reason for this is that he is one of the voices of the Republican party now. He has been out in front in the budget reform talks for the Republican party. He is also out there as the voice for healthcare and Medicare reform. This might be an important issue depending on what the Supreme Court rules this summer about the Affordable Health Care Act. The Romney/Ryan ticket could talk about the issues that have the most prevalent in the last few months and even in the last year or so which is the budget talks and health care reform. The reason Ryan ranks this low is because the Democrats hae already falsely accused Ryan of ending Medicare and it seems that it would be even more tempting for the Democrats to attack Ryan on his Medicare policies and his budget policies. Ryan could soar in these rankings, soon enough. Additionally, he does not bring to the table any swing states or bridge the gender gap. But he might bring some additional votes to the Romney campaign if Democrats are adamant about voting out the current Republican governor of Wisconsin. There could be some moderates who vote for a Democrat governor but a Republican president. They could split tickets.
6. Bob McDonnell- McDonnell is the governor of a battleground state in Virginia. Nate Silver noted that it is not very likely that there will be a two governor ticket. This is because among other things, there is no foreign policy experience. Especially in this instance. Additionally, McDonnell who championed transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions. There is some concern that he might lose some votes with women becuase McDonnell does not have a high favorability ratings with women. He is solidly pro-life and could energize that portion of the Republican base.
7. Michele Bachmann- I have talked extensively about Bachmann's vice-presidential qualifications. To sum up, she might be able to bridge some of the gender gap, she has foreign policy experience, she has name recognition, and she could appeal to Tea Party and further Right voters who feel that Romney is too moderate to be an effective Republican candidate. The problem is that she has the potential to say things that are not on the mark which might hurt Romney's campaign. The other problem is that moderates do not particulary care about Bachmann because she is futher to the Right than Romney and is a staunch supporter of the Tea Party.
8. Jeb Bush- Bush has fallen very low in my rankings due to a couple of factors. 1. He was a governor and as previously mentioned, Nate Silver, noted it is extremely unlikely that there would be two governors running on the same ticket. 2. Bush does not seem very supportive of Mitt Romney. In my last power rankings, I noted that Bush said that we have to come behind a candidate so that we have the best chance of taking the White House. It doesn't sound like he really wants Romney to be the presidential candidate. 3. Bush has not been directly involved in politics for a few years. 4. Moderates and right leaning democrats will not respond kindly to having a Bush on the ticket.
9. Chris Christie- Christie might be too moderate for the Republican base. He is a governor and it seems unlikely that Romney will choose someone who is moderate and does not have the foreign policy experience. If Romney chooses Christie, he is essentially choosing someone just like him. No offense to Romney, but he has enough favorability issues.
10. Nikki Haley- Haley has denied interest in the vice-presidency, she has low approval numbers as governor of South Carolina a state that Romney did not win in the Republican primary, and she also does not give any additionaly foreign policy experience. This is consistently going to be seen as a problem. Romney needs to show that he has foreign policy experience so he can battle what Obama/Biden is going to bring up.