As Mitt Romney enters the final stages of his vice presidential selection process, Marco Rubio is the choice of more White House Dossier readers than any other of the main candidates for the post, with 43 percent saying Romney should put the Latino senator from Florida on the tickWHD VP poll resultset.
The readers, who generally lean conservative, cast a total of 1,025 votes in a White House Dossier survey polling their preference for a running mate, with 441 of them choosing Rubio. They selected Rubio by nearly two to one over his nearest rival, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who received 236 votes, or 23 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was third with 8.2 percent, barely ahead of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal who was fourth with 7.8 percent.
The results suggest a potential enthusiasm deficit among conservative voters if Romney taps someone judged to be less passionately conservative than Ryan or Rubio.
The two candidates most often cited by analysts as the most likely Romney choices, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, received almost no support. Portman got only 26 votes for a total of 2.5 percent, while Pawlenty gathered 21 votes for a 2 percent share.
Both trailed Florida Rep. Allen West, the African American conservative firebrand whose name was written in by 44 readers. Condoleezza Rice received 19 votes, also as a write-in.
What’s more, the results indicate conservatives may be deeply disappointed if Romney fails to choose Rubio or Ryan. Defying conventional wisdom, 32 percent of those surveyed said they expect Romney to take Rubio while 20 percent believe he will choose Ryan, compared to 18 percent who believe Romney will select Portman and 11 percent who say he’ll put Pawlenty on the ticket.
Feeling wistful, three readers said they wanted Romney to choose Sarah Palin.
Voters were asked to cast their votes in a post on the White House Dossier website that appeared late Thursday afternoon. The voting remained open until Friday morning.