Is it time yet to play the Running-Mate Game? I’m sure that our friend and colleague Patrick Ishmael will be tuning up his surveys on this point, but at least for the moment, Nikki Haley says to count her out of the equation.  “I love being governor of South Carolina,” she tells CNS News, and she’s only endorsing Romney (and campaigning hard for him in the state) because she wants a “partner” in Washington who can make her state stronger rather than weaker.  Of course, that’s what all potential VP candidates are supposed to say, and perhaps especially so in Haley’s case, considering the political backlash she received from the endorsement:

The Monmouth poll from earlier today has some interesting and perhaps surprising insight into the impact of Haley’s endorsement of Romney.  Almost nine in ten respondents had heard of Haley’s endorsement, but that doesn’t mean they were impressed.  Only 8% of respondents were more likely to support Romney as a result of Haley’s backing, while 21% said they were less likely to do so.  More than two-thirds (71%) said it made no difference at all in their vote.  Tea Party supporters were slightly less critical, with only 16% saying it made them less likely to back Romney, while a third of the TP neutral/opposed said it made them less likely to support Romney.

Assuming that Romney wins the nomination — a very large assumption still at this point — Haley would definitely be a good fit for the ticket, if somewhat light on experience.  Romney will need a reliable conservative to help rally the base, and preferably someone outside of Washington.  A Southerner or Westerner would be best for geographic purposes.  Keep an eye on Susanna Martinez in New Mexico, who is also just starting her first term as governor, or Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, who is just starting his second and can afford to take three months to run on the bottom of a ticket.  And despite what Haley says, if Romney wins the nomination, she’ll certainly be on the short list.