NY Times struggling to come to grips with Republican voters

This graphic, from yesterday’s NY Times, caught my eye.  I don’t know if it appeared online, but here’s the print version.  It’s an excellent reflection of the struggle between how establishment outfits like the NY Times wish the GOP primary looked, and how it’s actually going (click for larger image).

See that headline?  ”The outlook for leading Republicans in early primary states.”  Did you notice a candidate there who you hadn’t realized was a “leading Republican”?

That’s right, there’s Jon Huntsman.  The Republican who isn’t quite as crazy as the rest of them.  The one who worked in the Obama administration, who believes in evolution, and who trusts scientists on global warming.  The one, in short, who folks like those who work at the NY Times undoubtedly wish would be the nominee.

Now, let’s check in on what is actually happening among GOP voters.  This is from the collection of recent polls at RealClearPolitics.

Huntsman is dead last.  Dead last.  He’s barely worth even mentioning in articles about the GOP primaries; he cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to be a “leading” candidate for the Republican nomination.

And did you notice something else peculiar about the NYT graphic?  Down at the bottom, it mentions “other candidates,” and it lists two: Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.  Now, Santorum is doing nearly as badly as Huntsman.  His positions are largely indistinguishable from those of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Cain, but he lacks the charisma of any of those candidates.  He is going nowhere, and there’s no point in talking about him.  Why would you mention him, instead of, say, Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich, both of whom have occasionally polled better than 5%?

Ron Paul, on the other hand, has consistent polled among the top four declared candidates, and in some surveys comes in third.  If anyone deserves that fourth slot in the big “leading Republicans” graphic, it’s clearly Paul.  And yet, the best the NY Times can do is a grudging mention of him as an “other candidate,” despite his decent showing in the polls and his proven ability to raise money.  What’s up with that?

This seems to me an excellent example of a major media operation trying to shape the news instead of just reporting it.  Huntsman is going nowhere, despite what the NY Times obviously wishes would happen.  Ron Paul remains a significant factor in the race, even though Serious People like those who work at the Times seem to think he’s a crank who generates a lot of enthusiasm from those kooky libertarians but who really should just pipe down and let Other Serious People handle things.

And don’t get me started on the debate invitations.

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9 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. good post

    And what’s up with Cain as not even being an “other”?

  2. It's the Ron Paul omission which really irritates me

    He came off as Uncle Crazy to me in the last debate, but he consistently polls reasonably well. It’s true that it doesn’t seem like he’ll ever grow much more popular, but the fact is that he’s sufficiently popular and he’s taking a different position, making his inclusion in debates and discussions and articles all the more relevant.

  3. Re: Ron Paul

    Glenn Greenwald has been ranting and raving over at Salon about the unfairness of Paul being squeezed out of mainstream reporting, as if its a concerted effort on the part of the media to craft an easy narrative. All republicans are anti-tax, pro-gun, pro-life, social conservatives and the President is pro-tax, anti-gun, pro-choice, and socially liberal. As he points out, by excluding Paul from debates and coverage, they are also removing one of the most ardent critics of the excesses of the War on Terror, the only critic of the War on Drugs, and a key critic of the continuation of Bush admin policies by Obama when it comes to civil liberties and war. It is also startling since he also beat a mainstream conservative, Tim Pawlenty, in a key contest,and barely lost to Michelle Bachman who is entitled to wall to wall coverage. Paul is going to be a much bigger factor in this race and actually fits the best with the Tea Party on most issues.

    As for Huntsman I completely agree, he is a non factor and his candidacy is done. But for whatever reason, the MSM keeps hoping he stays relevant and strong. It reminds me of their continuing to call Kerry the frontrunner back in spring of 2003 even though Dean had more money, Lieberman led the national polls, and Edwards and Gephardt had Iowa leads. There was literally no reason to declare Kerry the frontrunner by any metric, other than the fact that he was the candidate the media wanted to be the frontrunner, and as a Dean supporter it was quite frustrating. Than he finally raised a boatload of money, surged to the front, and then imploded. Watch something like that happen to Paul, but don’t expect Hunstman to emerge from the wreckage like Kerry did. I honestly do not know why he didn’t serve a full term as Ambassador to get foreign policy credibility, and then run in 2016 when the GOP came back to its senses after a blowout in 2012. But alas he not only has no 2012 prospects he has probably wrecked his 2016 prospects as well. All the same as he wasn’t nearly as moderate as the mainstream media made him out to be, only relative to the insanity of todays right. But just as ‘moderate’ as either Bush or Dole were, albeit better on gay rights.

  4. I am not convinced...

    …that either Perry or Bachmann will prove to have staying power. Both surged when they were the newest candidate, but look how quickly Bachmann deflated when Perry became the newest candidate. By polls I would not have called Huntsman a leading candidate, but he has carved his niche and I’m glad he is being taken seriously. Now we just need Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer in the mix. It’s Hermann Cain that I don’t know why is being taken as seriously as he is. He’s never held office and has said some of the most extreme things in the campaign. For what it’s worth my money is still on Romney to be the GOP nominee.

    • "he has carved his niche"

      LOL yes, that’s certainly true. The difficulty is that his “niche” appears to be one in which roughly 1% of Republican primary voters have any interest.

      • If he lasts until NH...

        …I think he might surprise some people, including himself, when the independents (almost all of whom will pull a GOP ballot in a year with no Democratic contest) have their say. I’m not saying he’ll win; that prediction goes to Romney, but I think it will be more than 1%. Besides, polls are still in the name recognition gauging stage. I’m sure there’s a silent segment of the GOP who will be relieved to discover there is a credible candidate who isn’t nuts.

  5. There's a lot to like about the guy.

    Ron Paul has a lot in common with Dennis Kucinich. They both have sponsored or endorsed bills to take back human rights from government. Ditto to investigate the Federal Reserve Bank. They both vote against corporatist control of government. They both are against the wars. One calls himself libertarian and the other progressive. I see more similarities to each other than to the cabal of their fellow party members.

    And, as a person: He’s respectful of others – you don’t see him sneering at opponents as they speak. He talks the same message to each audience. He doesn’t pretend to be all things to all people. He’s not Hollywood. He seems a good person.

    Why is he ignored?

    ““First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mahatma Gandhi

  6. Kucinich vs Paul

    One of the challenges of our political system is that great (more “correct” is the better word) ideas come from the fringe.

    Why no one mainstream says anything against the wars I do not understand.

    The war on drugs has been a big failure as well.

    The Fed has been and continues to be out of control.

    These two guys however are flawed as messengers, at least in the eyes of many.

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