The poll in question asked his readers to pick their current Republican candidate for 2016. Here are the results in order:
There is much to consider here.RAND PAUL ... 30.75% ... (67,958 votes)
TED CRUZ ... 28.52% ... (63,030 votes)
Other ... 6.91% ... (15,271 votes)
JEB BUSH ... 6.3% ... (13,922 votes)
SARAH PALIN ... 5.21% ... (11,507 votes)
CHRIS CHRISTIE ... 4.84% ... (10,706 votes)
RICK PERRY ... 4.4% ... (9,715 votes)
MIKE HUCKABEE ... 3.74% ... (8,254 votes)
PAUL RYAN ... 3.61% ... (7,974 votes)
BOBBY JINDAL ... 2.96% ... (6,538 votes)
DONALD TRUMP ... 1.86% ... (4,106 votes)
RICK SANTORUM ... 0.9% ... (1,995 votes)
First, this poll reminds us that Drudge is about ratings, not serious politics. We can see this in the choices he offers. Notice that he’s excluded Marco Rubio, who keeps coming up as the front-runner in more scientific polls. He’s also excluded Scott Walker, who has a growing network of supporters. What this suggests is that Drudge, like the rest of the fringe, sees Rubio as finished because he offended them with “Amnesty.” The fact that more than 60% of Republicans support it, has never appeared on Drudge’s pages and doesn't seem to enter his thinking. His dismissal of Scott Walker is more curious, but is likely because Walker doesn’t make Drudge headlines. So Drudge excludes two top tier candidates, yet he includes professional clown Donald Trump and Reality TV queen Sarah Palin. What does that say about Drudge’s worldview? That he’s not serious.
Secondly, this tells us that Drudge’s audience is what people suspect – rather far right. Current Tea Party favorites Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin together took 65% of the vote. Establishment candidates Bush and Christie totaled only 12%. By comparison, the Drudge Wing of the party represents less than 20% of the Republican Party in other polls. So Drudge's audience is the inverse of reality.
Third, Rick Santorum is toast. The Republicans have an annoying tradition of handing the nomination to the second place runner in the prior primary season, but clearly that won’t be happening here. Santorum ran second last time, but can’t even get half of Trump’s score and doesn’t even score within the margin of error. In fact, Drudge’s audience is overwhelming made up of the people who voted for Santorum in the 2012 primary and yet they are showing him no love now.
Fourth, Rick Perry’s efforts are not paying off at this time. For many months now, Perry has been doing his best to court conservatives. Yet, he can’t even muster 5% among the very people who would form his base.
Fifth, the bloom is fading on the Cruz rose. I’ve actually seen this coming for a while now. Cruz lost support when he pushed the shutdown and then admitted he had no plan to turn that into a victory. That was when non-fringe conservatives started to abandon him. When they turned on him, he started getting ugly press. Then he made the mistake of hypocritically disavowing the shutdown, of launching random criticism, of engaging in an obsessive war against Mitch McConnell and of flip flopping on John Cornyn. All of this has actually caused some supporters of his that I know to call him “a nut job.” His loss of strength is reflected in this poll as well as he’s down to 29% support among an audience that should be his base. Six months ago, he was closer to 40% support.
Sixth, the slight preference for Bush over Christie is interesting. This fits something I’m sensing, but don’t have real evidence for yet. Right now, Christie seems to be the establishment candidate, and by extension, the nominee. But Bush’s name keeps popping up as a better choice for the establishment as a means of maximizing conservative support without choosing a conservative candidate. If I had to put money on it right now, I would bet that our ticket will be Jeb Bush for President and Rand Paul for Vice President... and I will become a terrorist. I guess we’ll see.