Rubio top VP choice of CPAC straw poll

Conservative political activists believe Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney should pick Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as his running mate, based on a straw poll conducted Friday night after the Conservative Political Action Conference in Chicago.

Rubio, the choice of 30 percent of the activists in attendance, received more than double the votes of any other candidate. 

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie earned the nod of 14 percent of attendees of the one day event, hosted by the American Conservative Union, while Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) garnered nine percent and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the choice of 8 percent of the assembled crowd. Some 13 potential candidates received votes, but notably none of Romney's former rivals for the Republican presidential nomination cracked the top five.

Republicans believe that Rubio's ties to Florida — a key swing state in November — and his Latino heritage could boost Romney's chances at taking the White House. Republicans have struggled to appeal to Latino voters, the fastest growing demographic in the American electorate. 

The pair have attended campaign events together, and Romney has incorporated an anecdote about Rubio's Cuban parents into his standard stump speech. Mentioning the Florida lawmaker elicited warm cheers from an Iowa crowd Romney spoke with on the campaign trail Friday.

Rubio has repeatedly denied interest in the position, however.

"I don't want to be the vice president right now, or maybe ever," Rubio said in April. "I really want to do a good job in the Senate."