Rubio leads 3 to 1 in VP poll, gets Jeb Bush endorsement

Fox News has been running an online poll for vice president, and so far Marco Rubio has been far and away the most popular choice, currently standing at 49 percent.  The next closest competitor in the (of course unscientific) poll is Condoleeza Rice, who’s locked in a dead heat with Someone Else at 16 percent.  With all due appreciation for the qualifications of Rice and Else, that’s a pretty good lead for Rubio.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush endorsed Rubio for vice president in a recent interview with the Associated Press, saying he had “been a huge fan of Rubio’s for years” and personally recommended him to Mitt Romney.

Romney ruled out one potential competitor to Rubio during an NBC News interview Thursday:

The boomlet of speculation about Romney naming his vice-presidential choice early appears to have subsided.  Perhaps he’ll still choose a moment well before the Republican convention in August, but there’s really nothing to be gained by announcing his decision early.  The news cycle has been going Romney’s way lately – no reason to interrupt Barack Obama’s 4,324th attempt to explain what he meant when he told America’s entrepreneurs, “you didn’t build that.”

Veep speculation brings media attention to a number of capable allies of the Romney campaign, including Rubio, Rob Portman, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, and others, while giving Romney more time to evaluate his options (assuming, of course, that he hasn’t long ago made up his mind, and is simply keeping his decision close to the vest.)  An early selection would give the Democrats more time to hammer Romney’s running mate before his or her big national debut at the convention.

The announcement will be timed for maximum impact.  At this point, that would seem to argue for a moment closer to the convention.