Can Rubio Follow Romney’s Path to the Nomination?

Stuart Rothenberg February 9, 2016 · 12:30 PM EST

Is Marco Rubio a conservative who wants to overthrow the GOP establishment or a potential standard-bearer for party pragmatists?  He’s trying to be both, of course.

That strategy has been tried before – by Mitt Romney. And it worked, sort of. The question now, after Rubio’s debate performance on Saturday night, is whether Rubio can pull it off.

Romney spent almost six years, from 2008, when he lost the Republican nomination, to 2012 trying to prove to conservatives that he was one of them. During the 2012 campaign he ran hard to the right, outflanking Texas Gov. Rick Perry on immigration and emphasizing his social and economic conservatism.

He understood that GOP conservatives were deeply skeptical about him, a former Massachusetts governor who once was pro-choice and had strongly supported a state health care proposal that was the forerunner of Obamacare.

Sure, he was then saying the right things, but that did not necessarily mean that he would govern like a conservative if elected, worried Tea Party Republicans.

To placate their fears, Romney got as far to the right as he could during the race for the 2012 nomination.

But moderates and pragmatists in the Republican Party never really worried about Romney’s new message. They knew his bloodlines and history, and they…

What Happened to Jeb Bush?

Stuart Rothenberg February 9, 2016 · 9:08 AM EST

It must be more than a decade ago when I got a glimpse of the man often referred to as “George W. Bush’s smarter, younger brother.”

Charlie Cook and I were scheduled to speak to a group of Florida business leaders during lunch, but before we began our shtick, the state’s sitting governor, Jeb…

Why Was Fiorina Denied Ad Time During the Debate?

Nathan L. Gonzales February 8, 2016 · 9:00 AM EST

Carly Fiorina didn’t make Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire because she didn’t meet ABC’s polling threshold. But the network appeared to add insult to injury by not allowing her campaign to air television ads during the debate either. At least that’s what her campaign…

Wisconsin Senate: Argument over Assumptions

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Nathan L. Gonzales February 5, 2016 · 2:00 PM EST

Marquette University Law School recently released a poll which showed GOP Sen. Ron Johnson losing to former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold by 13 points in Wisconsin. Johnson’s allies called the poll “bogus” and claim that the race is tied. So who’s right?

The fight over the narrative in Wisconsin…

Why Haven’t We Updated Our Presidential Ratings?

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Nathan L. Gonzales February 5, 2016 · 1:59 PM EST

The presidential race has moved from hypothetical to reality as voters begin to caucus and cast their ballots in the early states. But while the primaries are starting to take shape, the outlook on the general election is still far from clear.

I got a call a couple weeks ago from a reader in…