Why aren’t Republican leaders rallying behind Marco Rubio?

Why hasn’t Marco Rubio, widely described as the electable conservative, caught on? It’s difficult to say, and there’s still plenty of time — before and after Iowa — for a Rubio surge. Nonetheless, Rubio’s clearest problem is that he hasn’t won over the establishment: He could be the best of both worlds, an establishment-friendly nominee with tea party bona fides, but right now neither camp is rallying behind him with any conviction.

Just look at the endorsements. For several weeks in late 2015, it looked like elected Republicans were inching toward Rubio. But that has largely stopped; Rubio received 10 endorsements from governors and members of Congress in November and seven in December. He has just two so far this month (Ted Cruz has received five), and Jeb Bush still remains the marginal leader in our endorsement tracker. Why aren’t members of Congress coming to save Rubio? Part of the answer may simply be that Rubio is too conservative and too anti-establishment.

Rubio’s ideology tends to get lost next to that of Cruz, but he is one of the most conservative members of Congress. We can see this using DW-Nominate, an algorithm that rates members of Congress on a liberal-conservative scale based on their voting record. Rubio is more conservative than 77 percent of Republicans serving in Congress this term.