COMMENTARY | The next presidential election is not until 2016, but political pundits are already debating about which candidates have the best chance of winning their party's nomination. After carefully reviewing the data, I believe that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will secure the Republican nomination in 2016 and will square off against the Democrat's choice, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Republican Nominee: Marco Rubio
I believe there are several reasons why Rubio will secure the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. For one thing, the senator's home state of Florida ranks fourth among states in regard to population. Rubio can use this fact to his advantage in securing funding and in building his presidential campaign infrastructure. More importantly, the Florida senator is staunchly conservative; both fiscal and social conservatives admire him. He reaffirmed his conservative credentials by voting against the fiscal cliff compromise. Rubio's most important political asset might be his Cuban heritage. Republicans will opt for Rubio in part because they believe that he will appeal to Hispanic voters.
Rubio also possesses something that many of his competitors lack. He is a charismatic speaker who can tug at people's heartstrings as well as appeal to their intellects. Some Republicans lovingly compare him to Ronald Reagan.
Democratic Nominee: Andrew Cuomo
I think that Cuomo will win the Democratic nomination in 2016. His current job as governor of New York and his political pedigree -- his father, Mario Cuomo, is a former governor -- helps to boost his name recognition.
As a case in point, Public Policy Polling asked voters about their familiarity with potential Democratic presidential candidates. In the poll, Cuomo ranked third behind only Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
Like his potential Republican opponent, Cuomo lives in a populous state, which will help him in collecting donations and in organizing his campaign. Most importantly, Cuomo, as governor, has demonstrated that he can work with politicians from both parties. Democratic voters will find this trait appealing, especially in light of the current gridlock on Capitol Hill.