Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Analyzing A Drudge Poll

The Drudge Report is an interesting site. Drudge picks and chooses his headlines carefully to feed an alarmist worldview. He loves to blow up isolated incidents into themes. His headlines are often inaccurate, sometimes to the point of being exactly backwards of reality. And yet, he’s become the trusted source of news for a good many conservatives and fringers. Indeed, he’s pretty much become the sole research tool for most talk radio hosts. Anyway, he just did a poll and it had some interesting results.

The poll in question asked his readers to pick their current Republican candidate for 2016. Here are the results in order:
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)
There is much to consider here.

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.



LL said...

Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are cut from the same piece of cloth.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, I think Bush is the lesser evil because he actually has goals and ideas and doesn't just get famous beating up conservatives, but neither makes me happy. And I can assure you that offering even that defense of a Bush kills me.

Anthony said...

Judging by the way the last several Republican nomination battles have gone, I don't think being beloved by conservative activists means much (though if one is hated by them, one has a problem).

Speaking of being hated by conservative activists, I think Rubio has a big problem. While 60% of Republicans favor immigration reform, it seems like all the Republican passion is on the 'anti' side (which is why Rubio folded on the issue). Silent majorities don't win primaries.

I wouldn't be surprised if Rubio wound up someone's VP, though to assuage conservative concerns they'd have to put Pete King or Ann Coulter in charge of DHS.

El Gordo said...

The idea of Jeb Bush winning the nomination (and possibly running against a Clinton) fills me with horror. But the base tends to chose candidates based on name recognition and "inoffensiveness". Which I guess makes them the conservative version of the "low information voter" i.e. a normal person who doesn´t think about politics too much.

So I have to say this: I would be fine with our young Senators like Rubio or Paul but they are first termers and legislators. There is no legislator with the kind of "next in line" buzz that seems required. I guess building it takes a decade at least.

As best and most likely candidate I always look for
1. a former governor of a purple or blue state
2. who won reelection
3. and who managed to advance conservative ideas

Christie fails on account of 3 and I don´t trust him. In his favor he has rhetoric skills and a strong will to win.
Perry is from a deep red state (that didn´t hurt W. but he was not great either).
Scott Walker fits the bill if he wins in 2014.
Bobby Jindal fits the bill. So does Jeb Bush.
I´d go with Walker or Jindal. They would not embarrass us and they would be decent presidents. Probably very good ones.

The problem with Jeb is the name and everything that goes with it. But the name is also a plus, perversely, if Bush can get "the inevitability thing" going for him. So in the end, I will probably root for Walker, Jindal, Paul or Rubio but Bush will get it. The last hurray of the old guard. Let´s hope he likes his role as punching ball for the left. The others will run again in 2020, I´m sure, if only to become inevitable by 2024.

I always want someone like Mitch Daniels who may not be the perfect candidate (as if W or McCain or Romney were any better) but who definitely would be a good president. I always get disappointed.

Tennessee Jed said...

I tend to agree with Anthony. I had high hopes for Rubio, but he sure has pissed off the activist right. I want to see a candidate who can articulate a positive vision, and would prefer to have somebody other than a white male so that issue could be taken off the table.

Koshcat said...

The biggest problem I have with Jeb is Bush-fatigue. I honestly think there are many who feel the same about Hillary (Clinton-fatigue). I'm not getting the feel that there is a lot of love for Hillary by the Dems. She's got money and a base but no cache and her term as secretary of state was not spectacular. If anything it showed that she too wouldn't have made a good president. The dems have a problem as of right now they don't have a lot of shining stars either. Using the same logic as El Gordo for the dems you might have Hickenlooper, Brian Schweitzer, ???. Cuomo has same problem as Perry but could be a candidate. Brown is too crazy. Crist is a wild card but could be dangerous if he can get the nomination.

I understand the prediction of a Bush/Clinton race but I would much prefer a Walker/Hickenlooper one.

BevfromNYC said...

Does anyone have an opinion of Mike Lee? He gave a pretty good speech at CPAC and the only one that I heard (and frankly did not hear all of it) but it what I did hear was something like this - "We have to have an agenda that is FOR something and a clear message of how we can achieve it - Positive real issues that people will want to vote for and ditch the agenda that is AGAINST everything." That is about all I heard, but I like it.

And frankly, I am not really looking to 2016 until after 2014 - These issues are so speculative at this point, it is almost worthless to have a conversation about them. And for the record, anyone conservative/republican/whatevers propose will be fodder for the liberal/democrat/whatevers. Remember the 2012 primary season? I would like to minimize the "Whack-a-mole" scenario or a least hold it off for a year.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I agree with that. Looking at our primaries, the decision seems to be made long before the conservative wing even picks their candidate. Thus, what you get is conservatives sitting down at the start of the primaries and looking at 4-5 candidates and trying to decide which is the most conservative, and then finding themselves frustrated that the establishment guy seems to be mysteriously racking up endorsements, money and wins in all the bigger states "out of the blue." The truth is, those victories are won a year or two earlier.

That's why I think the Bush/Christie fight will determine the nominee. Whatever group they are (center, establishment, base) will pick one or the other before the primary begins and they will sweep on through before the conservatives even settle on their champion.

On Rubio, I don't think the passion being on the other side is the problem. In fact, all the potential candidates align with Rubio on this issue because they understand that is the politically required position if they want to win the election -- and that it won't ultimately hurt them in the primaries. The difference with Rubio is that he collapsed under pressure from the fringe, and I think that wounded him too much with the establishment wing to enter the Bush/Christie fight... they want someone who is not afraid of the fringe.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Mike Lee is merely a distraction. He's assumed the role of Cruz's mini-me and won't be taken seriously.

In terms of him saying "we need an agenda, we need to be for something," that's the criticism that crushed the fringe and they've tried to deflect it by repeating it as if they believe it. You'll hear all of them say it now (except Rush, who continues to claim that demanding that we stand for something makes you a RINO). The problem becomes that while everyone else IS talking about idea finally, the fringe is just repeating this mantra, i.e. they don't actually mean it. And when pressed, their agenda is (1) eliminate the RINOs so we can (2) repeal Obamacare, (3) deport all those Mexicans and (4) end Common Core. That's not an agenda.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Anthony, putting Ann Coulter in charge of DHS would be hilarious. She's really gone insane on that issue.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, I agree with your analysis. I think the best candidates are those who have proven that they can not only win in purple states, but can get conservatives ideas implemented, with governors being superior to legislators.

In that regard, the best candidates are Walker, Daniels, John Kassich, Jindal, possibly Rick Snyder in Michigan, and unfortunately Jeb Bush. Each of those has pros and cons in terms of why people would or would not support them. For most it's lack of national name recognition. Jindal's problem is a lack of excitement. Each apart from Walker is also considered a RINO by the fringe.

The problem with Christie, in my opinion, is that he has never tried to do anything conservative in New Jersey. He has become popular and stayed popular merely by attacking conservatives and only offering vague ideas he never really pushes. That makes him the moderate version of Ted Cruz.

The problem with Bush is family name. But as you note, that is also perversely a positive. If he runs the "he's not like his brother" campaign just like W ran the "he's not like his father" campaign, then he probably can overcome the stigma. Moreover, the Republican establishment has long liked him and never soured on him. So it's not a stretch to me, to see him becoming their choice.

This is going to be an interesting election. It's still early, but honestly, I think the eventual nominee is winning or losing the nomination right now. All the rest will just be theater.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That would be a good thing. The GOP definitely needs a lot more minorities to finally end the ability of the Democrats to attack the party for being just white males.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I see NO love for Hillary out there. I see a grudging acceptance that she's going to be the nominee, but no one on the left or the center-left seems happy about it.

I agree completely that a Bush v. Clinton race would be a fatigue race... the winner will be which ever said can keep their fatigue to a minimum.

tryanmax said...

The surefire way to get young voters to stay home in droves come 2016 is for the Parties to set up Bush v. Clinton. Of the two, Hillary may be the worse, as she would send the message that the Democrat party is moving backward. MIllennials are sure to remember Bush-Bashing, but whether they remember Clinton-Bashing is iffy. I couldn't begin to guess how that difference might play, except maybe to make Jeb appear as an underdog. On the other hand, if only one party puts up a throwback candidate, then the other party wins the youth vote. I think it's as simple as that.

AndrewPrice said...

A throwback candidate. LOL! Sounds like an NFL throwback jersey.

I think that a Clinton v. Bush race would turn a lot of people off and I'm not sure how it would turn out. I can say though that I see no love for Hillary anywhere and she has proven to be a horribly weak campaigner. Also, despite my dislike for him, Bush is not fool when it comes to campaigning.

Critch said...

Not only "NO!" to Christie, but "HELL NO!". The man is a liberal through and through..I'm not a one issue voter, but I don't trust him as far as I can throw him when it comes to the 2nd Amendment. I like Bobby Jindal of all of them...I'm still uncertain of Cruz's legality to be POTUS.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, I hear you! I see nothing redeeming in Christie. I cannot point to a single thing he's done that's conservative or that was aimed at helping moving New Jersey to the right or to help the Republicans grow in New Jersey. To the contrary, he seems to spend his time attacking his allies. You simply can't trust a man like that.

I like Jindal a lot, but realistically, he just doesn't have the personality to win over a national audience. In all seriousness, he needs to take some acting classes.

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