The choice is significant because Tea Party Express, like most other Tea Party groups, was hesitant to get behind Romney as the Republican nominee. During the GOP primary, Romney was not seen as the Tea Party candidate. Most groups have confirmed they will vote for Romney because their main concern is defeating President Obama, but a Tea Party-favored choice for Romney's VP could help bolster their support.
“It is not a big surprise that Marco Rubio is the favorite candidate of the Tea Party for the vice-presidential nod," Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer noted in the release. "He ran as a strong fiscal conservative, and he has delivered with his record in the U.S. Senate for the last two years. The only surprise is that he led the other excellent candidates by such a wide margin."
According to Kremer, most of the 27 names polled were acceptable to the group's members. The 27 names are not necessarily on Romney's shortlist, but have been mentioned as possible contenders for vice president.
“The next favorites of the Tea Party Express supporters were Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.)," Kremer said. “All 27 of the candidates were acceptable to the Tea Party. They just want to make sure we end the big spending in Washington."
Ryan took 50 percent and West followed with 47 percent, according to the group's results. Ryan has said he will not be vice president, but West said he would consider an offer. Romney has never mentioned the freshman West as a possible running mate, but recently told a supporter "all suggestions are welcome" when urged to consider the Tea Party favorite for the role.
The poll also found strong support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Republican presidential hopefuls including Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.).
Tea Party Express claims its poll surveyed over 8,000 people. The national organizations do not necessarily speak for the majority of Tea Party voters.