CLOWNTIME IS OVER, UNFORTUNATELY
It's fun to think that the GOP is in chaos and that Republicans aren't going to be able to settle on a nominee anytime soon, but The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reports on a new Pew poll that suggests (though Pew doesn't draw this conclusion) that the race might be over much sooner than expected:
...Among Republicans, Sen. John McCain, who has risen to the top of the pack nationally, is now viewed by 42% as the most electable, compared with a mere 16% in November.
McCain is rated favorably by all of the key blocs of Republican voters: white evangelicals give him 66%, other conservatives, 72%, and moderates, 74%. He gets similar ratings from all types of voters regardless of age, gender, educational attainment and the like. That's a contrast to Mike Huckabee who is viewed favorably by only 23% of conservative Republicans who aren't white evangelicals. Mitt Romney does well with that group, with 66% viewing him favorably. Rudy Giuliani's overall favorability rating has steadily declined from 88% in April 2006 to 57% this month while his unfavorable rating has jumped to 36% from 5%....
McCain has really high favorables among evangelicals? And even higher favorables among non-fundie conservatives? That doesn't fit the master narrative.
Go to the Pew's writeup of the poll and see this in chart form. Look at all those 70s in the left column! (Click to enlarge.)
McCain has a serious lead in South Carolina. He now has a small lead in Florida. (And if Rudy beats him there, so what? If we've learned nothing else this year, haven't we learned that a primary win gives you zero momentum for the following week?) And on Super Tuesday, well, Pew has pooled results for Florida and the states that vote that day. Guess who's #1? (And then after that: "McCain's lead over the rest of the field is far stronger in the states with primaries later on the calendar.")
I think McCain will finish strong wherever he doesn't win, and that'll be that -- the GOP might, astonishingly, have a candidate before Democrats do. And -- Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter notwithstanding -- rank-and-file Republicans like him.
That scares me.