For several years, and with increasing vehemence, I’ve doubted the reliability of media polls. I have no reason to think the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is better or worse than other media polls, but it is notable that the poll of the Republican primary they released this morning has a margin of error of 6.5. In 2012 no major media poll of the Republican nominating contest had a margin of error over 6.0. So, as with all media polls, accept the data warily. With that caveat, look at the NBC/WSJ polls since April, and you can see an astonishing trend toward complete rejection of anyone who has ever held elective office.
A few weeks ago Monmouth asked Republican voters which they favored, someone with government experience, or someone from outside government, 67% favored someone from outside government. That preference shines through in the NBC/WSJ results, with increasing intensity since the spring*:
|Has Held Office||39%||66%||84%||91%|
|Has Not Held Office||52%||29%||14%||8%|
That is an electorate unhappy with it’s party. In fact, if the tea partiers, ultra-conservatives, and generally disaffected and alienated who vote Republican weren’t disproportionately riding scooters at big box stores they might be leading a revolution against their party elites.
But they do appear, for now at least, to be going against the predictions of the political science fundamentalists who pat people on the head and tell them they’re silly for believing campaigns are ever different. This election, they say, will be just like every other election cycle; the parties will sober up from their ideological debaucheries and nominate a responsible figure of the party establishment. Republican primary voters appear bored by responsibility. Since the spring they have tempered their anger, they have further radicalized.
Republican primary voters won’t be denouncing and executing anyone wearing glasses. But they may purge their field of candidates of anyone who has ever served in government or won an election.
*The “has not held office” group is Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina. Not all the other Republicans currently hold office, but all have at some point held elective office.