John Fund makes a compelling case here, but I don't know that I'm convinced. I get this a lot from listeners; "I wish I could say none of the above." Just as the back-up QB is the most popular player on a losing team, so are the candidates who are not on the ballot. Think back to the Republican Presidential Primary of 2012. Every candidate NOT on the ballot was more popular than those who were running.
But 2008 is instructive in this matter. Fred Thompson was seen as the great hope of Republicans that year, until he actually entered the race. Some felt he waited too long and then didn't live up to the hype by the time he entered. Perhaps. But in the end, he was far less popular once he was actually in the race.
My point is voters are never satisfied. Paul Ryan energized the conservative base when Mitt Romney picked him as his running mate. But I suspect had Ryan entered the field himself, as many (including me) wanted him to, he may have found himself less attractive once he was actually at the dance.
On the other hand, it would be interesting to see what would happen in one NE Wisconsin legislative race this fall if "NOTA" was an option.