And the results are in.
If a gathering of conservatives near Chicago had their way, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio would be Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Rubio won the vice presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Rosemont, Illinois, Friday evening.
The first-term Republican senator won with 30% of the vote. Trailing him were New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 14%, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan at 9%, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 8%, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at 7% and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 5%. Rubio did not attend the gathering. Four others did: Christie, Paul, Jindal and Santorum. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also attended, yet he placed low on the list, garnering less than 2% of the vote.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a top pick on many potential running mate lists, also got less than 2%.
National Journal has more details.
The poll’s results were much less conclusive on the question of what should drive the presumptive nominee’s choice. Thirty-two percent of the voters wanted to see Romney run with someone who could reach out to the more conservative wing of the party, 27 percent would like to see a running mate who would complement his governing, and 20 percent said they would prioritize a candidate with broad national appeal, especially to minorities. Only 17 percent thought the top criteria should be qualification to lead the country, and just 4 percent said Romney should pick a running mate from a key state.
The straw poll, which featured 23 prominent Republicans as choices on the poll, was co-sponsored by The Washington Times. 520 people at the conference voted out of well over 1,000 in attendance at the height of the conference.