alien & sedition.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
  Circling the Void

Ignore your better judgment and venture over to Townhall, where Robert Novak is having some fun with a push-poll (that reminds me of the old Highlights Magazine motto, "Fun with a Purpose," which I, as a young lad, always read as "Fun with a Porpoise" - to my perpetual disappointment, since the magazine almost invariably failed to include any dolphin-related material whatsoever).

Novak relates how a pollster in the employ of former Virginia governor James Gilmore was able to catapult his client ahead of the Republican field in Iowa by letting poll respondents in on the frontrunners' dirty little liberal secrets. The poll, by political consultant Kieran Mahoney, first showed McCain at 33 percent, Giuliani at 31.5, Romney at 8.8, and the obscure Gilmore at 1.8.
The polltakers next "pushed" -- alleging information about each candidate that could alienate conservative voters. McCain: opposed tax cuts, favored "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, opposed a ban on same-sex marriages. Romney: "refused to ban" abortion in Massachusetts, committed to "full equality" for gays and lesbians, put health care in the hands of bureaucrats. Giuliani: supported Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo's re-election in New York, is pro-gay rights and pro-choice, supports gun control.

That additional information dropped Giuliani by 9 percentage points to 22.3 percent and Romney by 5 points to 3.8 percent, while McCain rose 2 points to 35.3 percent. The unknown Gilmore was constant at 1.3 percent.
The coup de grace came when respondents were plied with information about Gilmore's true-blue conservative record, upon which the unknown governor was boosted into a ten-point lead.

There's nothing new or surprising about push-polls. They are of course designed to produce counter-intuitive results by carefully trashing some candidates while building up others. But the degree of fluidity in the GOP field indicated by Mahoney's poll is somewhat interesting. To Novak, this reinforces the emerging consensus on the right that none of the current candidates will do - "without question," he says, "there is a conservative void."

Novak points out that each of the frontrunners is trying to take advantage of the situation by talking up the liberal tendencies of the others:
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) attracting right-wingers nationwide to Washington this weekend, Citizens United will distribute a 23-page attack on McCain. "He's no Ronald Reagan," it begins, and concludes: "John McCain is not a conservative." (McCain is the only announced Republican presidential hopeful not scheduled to speak at CPAC.) Simultaneously, McCain operatives are putting out material that depicts Giuliani riding into City Hall on the shoulders of the New York Liberal Party as a throwback to the old Tammany Hall Democratic machine.
But of course, that's a circular firing squad if there ever was one. Is there any candidate who can credibly fill the conservative void? Novak cites Newt Gingrich, but suggests that even Newt's conservative credentials aren't perfect.

If Newt is too liberal, then I'm not sure the right can be helped. But I suspect that Gingrich would indeed find a receptive audience among conservative primary voters. He's certainly got the skills to appeal to them. So what is he up to? He seems to be running a sort of non-campaign campaign - denouncing the long presidential season while taking care to maintain a high public profile. I saw him at Cooper Union last night - I'll report on that later today. It certainly doesn't seem impossible that Newt is positioning himself to ride to the rescue when conservatives begin to despair en masse about their presidential options.

Labels: , , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

"An obscure but fantastic blog." - Markus Kolic


Critical analysis of the American conservative movement from a progressive perspective. Also some stuff about the Mets.

Email Me

Favorite Posts

I Was a Mole at the Conservative Summit, Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Wars of Perception, Part One
Wars of Perception, Part Two

Conservative Futures
Reading Conservative History


I also post at:

The Daily Gotham
The Albany Project
The Right's Field

Various favorites:

Ben Weyl
Chase Martyn
Cliff Schecter
Crooked Timber
D-Day (David Dayen)
Daily Kos
Ezra Klein
Five Before Chaos
Future Majority
Glenn Greenwald
The Group News Blog
Jon Swift
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
Matt Ortega
Matthew Yglesias
My Thinking Corner
New Democratic Majority
The November Blog
The Osterley Times
A Pedestrian View
The Poor Man Institute
Progressive Historians
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Talking Points Memo
Think Progress
The Third Estate
Undercover Blue
Vernon Lee
wAitiNG foR doROthY

Watching the right:

Orcinus (Dave Neiwert)
Rick Perlstein
Right Wing Watch
Sadly, No!

The conservative wonkosphere: (AEI)
The American Scene
Andrew Sullivan
Cato @ Liberty
Contentions (Commentary Magazine)
Crunchy Con (Rod Dreher)
Daniel Larison
Eye on '08 (Soren Dayton)
Jim Henley
Josh Trevino
Mainstream Libertarian
National Review Online
Patrick Ruffini
Ross Douthat
Ryan Sager
The Weekly Standard

New Yorkers:

Amazin' Avenue
Chris Owens
Z. Madison


December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2008

Powered by Blogger