Rand Paul won a high-profile straw poll for a third straight year Saturday....(Emphasis added.)
The Kentucky senator carried 25.7% in the Conservative Political Action Conference poll, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finished second with 21.4%....
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, finished third with 11.5%, followed closely by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 11.4%.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush ... finished fifth at 8.3%.
Other potential presidential candidates -- including Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Rick Perry — had less than 4% in the straw poll.
It's widely acknowledged that Chris Christie is struggling, and that Rick Perry faces an uphill battle if he wants to be taken seriously this year. But it seems to me that most political pros still regard Rubio as a major candidate.
I looked at the Real Clear Politics rundown of national Republican polls -- Rubio has been in single digits in every poll released in the last year. Yes, it's a big field, but there have been at least three candidates in double digits in every one of those polls. Rubio hasn't been one of them.
Why would Rubio eventually do better in the polls? If Republican voters want a tanned Floridian who's said moderate-sounding things about immigration, they can vote for Jeb Bush, who's scarfing up all the Establishment money Rubio would like to get his hands on. If Republican voters want an under-50 fresh face, they can vote for Scott Walker, Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, all of whom, unlike Rubio, have passionate followings. And if Republican voters want a Hispanic candidate ... well, I can't imagine any Republican voters who actually want a Hispanic candidate, but if they do, they've got Cruz.
Rubio could be running for the VP slot, although I don't think that's primarily what he has in mind. But if Jeb wins the nomination, the Constitution says he and
So, Marco, don't bother -- you're toast. Or if you want to stay in the race, do or say something extreme, scurrilous, and reckless. GOP voters really like that.
*Two commenters dinged me on this, so I'll correct it: Constitutionally, you're allowed to have a ticket with two candidates from the same state -- you just have to forgo all the electoral votes from that state. Florida, of course, has 29 electoral votes -- more than 10% of the total you need to win. Why would a party concede that many electoral votes in advance?
Oh, and I fixed another error.