The New York Times' highly-accurate number cruncher (and Mr. Burns lookalike) Nate Silver has a post up today measuring the national electability and ideological rigidity of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Using three separate models to measure the degree of his conservatism, Silver found rubio to be ideologically in sync with most of the Republican Party, though more popular with the public...:
This is a potentially advantageous position for a Republican competing in the presidential primaries. In both parties, nominees have usually come from the center of their parties, rather than from the moderate or the “extreme” wings. There are exceptions: Mr. Reagan, although he would fit right into the Republican Party today, was much more conservative than most of his contemporaries in 1980. But in general, Mr. Rubio is pretty close to the sweet spot of where a presidential nominee might want to be. ...
What makes matters tricky for Mr. Rubio is that, at the same time he is hoping to persuade Republican party insiders that he deserves their support [should he run in 2016], he will also need to maintain a reasonably good image with the broader electorate lest his electability argument be undermined. This may lead to some strange positions, such as when Mr. Rubio recently critiqued President Obama’s immigration proposal despite its many similarities to his own.