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Republican VP Speculation Thread

It’s only fair.

Nothing terribly proprietary here, but I’ve rehashed the latest numbers from Intrade and then bundled the Republican VP hopefuls into five groups:

Traditional. A well-known Senator or Governor in the rough mainstream of his party. These are the sorts of people who are usually selected to be VPs.

Base Reach. A candidate whose selection would explicitly appeal to the Christian conservative base (but who might have other wonderful attributes).

Center Reach. A candidate whose selection would explicitly appeal to political center (but who might have other wonderful attributes).

Insider. A government insider who is associated with a particular competency or issue, but who may not be particularly well-known. Often overlaps heavily with “Base Reach”.

Outsider. Someone from outside the political sector, such as a CEO. Often overlaps heavily with “Center Reach”.

Romney          3-1     Traditional
Pawlenty 6-1 Traditional
Palin 6-1 Traditional
Huckabee 7-1 Base Reach
Crist 11-1 Traditional
Portman 12-1 Insider
Fiorina 13-1 Outsider
Thune 13-1 Base Reach
Cantor 15-1 Insider
Sanford 15-1 Traditional
Ridge 20-1 Center Reach
Jindal 20-1 Base Reach
Perdue 20-1 Traditional
Lieberman 30-1 Center Reach
Snowe 30-1 Center Reach
Bloomberg 50-1 Center Reach
Graham 50-1 Traditional
Collins 50-1 Center Reach
Kasich 50-1 Insider
Rice 50-1 Insider
Cox 60-1 Insider
Rell 60-1 Center Reach
Whitman 60-1 Outsider
Keating 70-1 Traditional
Huntsman 80-1 Base Reach
Hutchinson 100-1 Traditional
Engler 100-1 Traditional
Fred Smith 100-1 Outsider

I would short: Crist, Bloomberg, Engler, and maybe Sarah Palin by a smidge. I think Palin is a very intriguing politician and deserves most of the coverage that is wasted on Bobby Jindal as the GOP’s up-and-comer, but I think the chemistry of McCain being paired with a very young (and young-looking), kind of kooky female governor would be very weird. Mike Bloomberg is not really a Republican. Nobody likes John Engler. With Crist, there are literally as many Google hits where his name appears with the word ‘gay’ as where it appears without it. That offers no proof, of course, about what his sexuality actually is, but if it’s the first association that most of the country makes about him, it is liable to be too much of a distraction.

I would long: Pawlenty, Portman, Thune. Thune is sort of at that bridge between “Base Reach” and “Traditional” where he can appeal to the base without looking like a total pander. Palwenty because the McCain people seem to think they can win Minnesota. And Portman because he gets both the Ohio and the experience/competence checkboxes, although the McCain camp may understate the risks of associating themselves with any former Bush cabinet official.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.