Rudy the Frontrunner
As The Bij noted earlier today, Ryan Sager's Rudy opus in the Post today has that "just go read it now" feel that no amount of commentary can do justice to.
Read. It. Now.
Sager methodically deconstructs every anti-Rudyism with (gasp) actual reporting. Is it true Rudy will get mauled in the South? Well, let's talk to real Southerners and see.
This part in particular I found really fascinating:
So, how does The Note respond to this thoroughly reported and sourced work? By belittling Sager: "In his New York Post column, Ryan Sager declares Giuliani the front-runner for the 2008 Republican nomination. But Sager also seems to not know what a push poll is, so factor that in."
* But McCain would trounce Rudy in those states if people knew about his positions on abortion and gay rights (and his marital history), right? Wrong again. Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson told me of some "push polling" in Florida and Georgia - where his firm told voters about Rudy's positions and marital problems and about McCain's support for campaign-finance reform and working with Democrats against President Bush.
The effect on Rudy's numbers, Johnson said, "underwhelmed" his expectations significantly, merely putting the two candidates into a statistical dead heat - not launching the more conventionally conservative (at least on issues like abortion) McCain into the lead. "Some people who identify themselves as strong conservatives, even when we did do the push-poll questions in Georgia and Florida, were still more willing to go with Giuliani," Johnson said. "Strong, Christian conservatives."
Read the quote again. It was Johnson, the professional pollster, who used the term "push poll." Sager uses the term in quotation marks. The Note's snarky pronunciation is of a piece with the Hotline headline today: "I'm Telling You, He's The Frontrunner!"
From their perches on DeSales Street and at the Watergate, they seem to think of Rudyites as ignorant cranks and are unwilling to brook any evidence-based argument that McCain might not win (when the striking fact the more you dig deeply into polls, the more you see that McCain cannot win). I guess when they've spent the last year or more touting this particularly staid bit of received wisdom, they just can't let go. Just like they couldn't let go of their 1978 view of Reagan and his followers as irrational cranks.
Well, the Reaganites laughed all the way to the White House, and so will we.