IN A RELATED DEVELOPMENT, 81% OF HENHOUSE THIEVES TOLD POLLSTERS THAT "THERE'S NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS!"
Regarding this Rasmussen poll, which says that only 11% of Republicans think Rush Limbaugh is their party's leader while 81% disagee, Eric Kleefeld of Talking Points Memo has the right response (though I want to throw in my two cents at the end of this post).
Here's what Eric says:
... the phrasing of this question seems like it's designed to elicit a No response, especially from Republicans: "Agree or Disagree: 'Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the Republican Party -- he says jump and they say how high.'"
Not surprisingly, GOP respondents don't want to admit they are the yes-man patsies of a radio loudmouth.
There's one other factor, though. Republicans are answering "No" because they've been effectively told to answer "No" -- by Limbaugh himself. Here's what Limbaugh said in his dressing-down of Michael Steele on Monday:
I'm not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don't want to be. I would be embarrassed to say that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it's in.
What's more, Democrats are saying Limbaugh is the party leader -- so Republicans have to disagree. If we praise Mom's apple pie and the cuteness of puppies, Republicans will eat broccoli for dessert and start kicking dogs. Whatever it is we say, they're against it.
Many Republicans would be delighted to have Limbaugh as their party's leader (there were certainly quite a few folks around the Intertubes in the immediate aftermath aftermath of the CPAC speech who declared in all seriousness that making Limbaugh the GOP presidential or vice presidential nominee would be a grand idea) -- but they know they're not supposed to say that when they think non-believers might be listening. So they do as they're told, and they think that if Rush says this helps to advance the cause, it must be so.
(TPM link via Steve Benen.)