If Romney doesn’t win the election, who do you think will be the front-runner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination?
Republicans (171 votes)
Paul Ryan: 32%
Jeb Bush: 26%
Marco Rubio: 14%
Chris Christie: 14%
Also receiving votes: Scott Walker, 4%; Bob McDonnell, Rick Santorum, John Thune, 2% each; Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Rand Paul, “someone else,” 1% each.
“Would be tough to beat the national platform he’ll have.”
“The stage belongs to him. If he nails it, then he should be well positioned for the future.”
“The intellectual leader of the GOP now and for the years to come.”
“For the moment, he seems to have the best appeal and the fewest downsides.”
“The future of the GOP, unless he starts riding the social-conservative train.”
“Ryan is going to get a taste of the big leagues and like it.”
“Jeb would be the nominee in 2012 if he had a different last name.”
“Jeb Bush has the broadest appeal across the board; appeals to Hispanics; has a track record that’s indisputable as a two-term former governor of a large multicultural state; and is wicked smart.”
“Jeb is the front-runner if he wants it. At some point, he will need to send strong signals that he is serious about running.”
“The statesman of the party at a time when we need more statesmen.”
“Vision, credibility, and voice.”
“If a generic ‘R’ like Romney can’t win against a weak incumbent, Republicans will have no choice but to reshape the Hispanic-vote breakdown.”
“Many great candidates, but Chris Christie leads the way.”
“The establishment political machine will gravitate to Christie, making him the front-runner much in the same way that Giuliani and McCain were in 2008.”
“The biggest all-star so far this week, judging by crowd reaction is Walker. Like Christie, he’s made tough calls and flourished.”
“Thune is well versed in policy, a great politician, and a fresh face on the national scene.”
“Haley is knowledgeable and politically savvy: time for some new blood if Romney loses.”
For a list of the Insiders, please visit nationaljournal.com/2012-conventions-insiders.
This article appears in the August 30, 2012, edition of NJ Convention Daily.