John McLaughlin, the pollster who worked for outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) re-election campaign, released a new survey trying to explain how his previous polling showed Cantor comfortably leading challenger David Brat, including continuing to blame Independents and Democrats for voting in the “wide-open jungle-style primary.”
Brat, of course, defeated Cantor in arguably one of the biggest electoral surprises of the last few cycles. Actually, just before the June 10 primary an internal poll of the race conducted by McLaughlin showed Cantor beating Brat by 34 points.
In a new post-mortem survey of the race conducted by McLaughlin’s McLaughlin & Associates, the pollster argues that the reason for the discrepancy between his polling and the actual outcome was because of voters who do not usually vote in Republican primaries. McLaughin’s polling focused on voters who voted in the GOP primaries for president in 2012, the 2012 race for Congress, and the 2008 race for president. But, McLaughlin wrote, the “Virginia Republican primary system was totally open to all voters.”
“It is now clear that Eric Cantor’s national standing gave the race a lot of local interest among many more voters than just past Republican primary voters, including politically interested Independents and Democrats as well. Without a parallel Democrat primary, this election was very similar to a wide-open jungle-style primary. It created an organic turnout of new voters not included in our previous poll of past primary voters,” the analysis from McLaughlin’s survey said.
McLaughlin’s post-mortem survey said that Cantor lead among people who voted in at least one of the previously mentioned primaries. He wrote:
Eric Cantor won among voters who voted in at least one Republican primary 52%-48%, at least two Republican primaries 56%-44% and all three Republican primaries 62%-38%; among affiliated Republicans 55%-45%; voters who say they normally vote in Republican primaries 52%-48%; those who are now undecided in their choice for Congress 61%-39%, those who oppose Obamacare 52%-48%; those who regularly watch Fox News 55%-45%, those who don’t use the internet or social media 53%-47%, those who always or usually vote Republican 53%-47%; Conservatives 51%-49%; voters over 65 years old 59%-41%, moderate Republicans 55%-45% and conservative Republicans 54%-46%.
In contrast Dave Brat won among those who had voted in a Democratic primary 70%-30%; those who had never voted in a primary before 59%-41%; Independents 62%-38%; Democrats 86%-14%; those who say it was their first time voting in a primary 61%-39%; those who say they usually vote in Democratic primaries 84%-16%; those who are voting for Brat in November 55%-45%; those who are voting for [Democrat Jack] Trammell in November 75%-25%; those who would vote for the generic Republican 51%-49%; those who would vote for the generic Democrat 78%-22%; those who approve the job Obama is doing 80%-20%; those who favor Obamacare 88%-12%; those who do not watch Fox News 74%-26%; those who regularly listen to conservative talk radio 60%-40%; those who use social media 61%-39%; those who are members of the Tea Party 56%-44%; those who are not members, but agree with the Tea Party 52%-48% and those who do not agree with the Tea Party 65%-35%; ticket-splitters 63%-37%; those who always or usually vote Democratic in November 83%-17%; moderates 61%-39% and liberals 77%-23%; pro-choice voters 60%-40%; those who approve immigration reform 58%-42%; those who disapprove immigration reform 56%-44%; Protestants 51%-49%; Catholics 69%-31%; whites 54%-46%; non-whites 65%-35%; voters under 65 66%-34%; and men 60%-40%.
Clearly Eric Cantor’s support was limited to within the Republican party, which was split, but organically, first time Republican primary voting Independents and Democrats made the difference.
Read the crosstabs here.