Precinct 333

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Rice Leads Among Conservative Bloggers

Patrick Ruffini has been running a poll over at his site. Now I'll concede it is uncientific, but its results show that the leader among GOP-oriented folks on the internet is -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He offers a good breakdown of the results here.

Looking at the complete results, the contenders can be broken down into tiers:

Tier I: Rice (42%), Giuliani (14%), Bush (10%)
Tier II: Romney (7%), Pawlenty (6%), Allen (5%), McCain (5%), Owens?
Tier III: Santorum (4%), Frist (3%), Sanford (3%), Brownback (2%), Hagel?

Why take such a survey so early? Does it hold any predictive value? The honest answer is hardly at all. However, by comparing the opinions of blogosphere activists with the broader electorate, we can detect which candidates may be over- or under-valued in the political marketplace come 2006 and 2007. Measuring which candidates generate the most buzz and excitement online can successfully predict significant events like the Dean surge in late 2003. Compare these results to the Gallup poll of 493 Republicans or leaners taken February 4 – 6:

Giuliani 33%
McCain 30%
Bush 12%
Frist 7%
Other 6%

The most glaring difference is the exclusion of Condi Rice (and the limited selection of candidates generally). Rice could be expected to do well in a traditional poll, though perhaps not as well as in the blogosphere, where she also cleaned up in the Right Wing News poll. In the spring of 1997, not every poll included George W. Bush in its list of potential GOP candidates, but those that did showed him leading decisively.

Now what does this mean? Less than meets the eye, I believe. Given that Dr. Rice was not even included in the Gallup poll, it would be expected she would do less well there. Also, as Ruffini notes, this is very early in the cycle. But I think that Dr. Rice has a base of support in the GOP that could make her inclusion on the eventual 2008 a virtual lock, though which spot she would take is an open question. And there is also the question of where George W. Bush would place his support. If his brother ran, would he support Jeb ovr Condi? Or would a privately expressed preference for Condi cause Jeb to sit out the race? The Jeb/Condi dynamic is an interesting one in 2008 -- and might result in the two of them being the 2008 GOP team.


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