Wednesday, March 20, 2024

A few Wednesday morning data points

As we've discussed at some length, there is a strange inconsistency in much of the mainstream media's coverage of the election (actually, there are many strange inconsistencies, but we'll just focus when one for the moment).  In the run-up to the primaries, papers like the New York Times did their best to convince us and themselves that  DeSantis or Haley, or even Ramaswamy, was poised to take out Donald Trump.  In this phase of the election, even the pretense of objectivity was tossed aside.

Once reality came crashing down on these scenarios, many of these same journalists suddenly lost all interest in looking for signs of weakness in Trump's support.  We've already speculated on the reasons behind this curious shift and will probably speculate more in some upcoming posts (it's a hard habit to break).  Regardless of the causes, the disconnect continues, supplying endless material to the NYT pitchbot.  Biden getting support in the nineties in the primaries is seen as evidence of a party in disarray while Trump getting more than ten points less is depicted as an indication of strength.

Part of the problem is that many political observers still have trouble with the idea that the former president has an absolute lock on the primary with the loyal support of a solid majority of Republicans, but appears to have seriously alienated in the nontrivial minority of the party.  Perhaps the best indication of that has been the remarkable consistency of Haley's primary showings, even after dropping of the race.

Last night's primaries in Ohio and Arizona continued the pattern. 

But ironically, the state where he did the best should be the one that worries them the most.

Shockingly, the only publication I know of that called this spade a spade was Newsweek. Even though Florida itself almost certainly is not in play (barring something really big), 14% in Florida for Haley in what has to be seen as a protest vote should be deeply troubling for Trump and the party. Nate Cohn and other analysts have argued that Haley's numbers were in large part due to Democrats voting in Republican primaries, but that doesn't work in Florida. At ground zero for Trump support with all of his rivals long out of the race, almost one fifth of the state's Republicans voted against him.

That won't be how the major news organizations spin it, but that's the big lesson of the night.


  1. I mean, CA has closed primaries and I deliberately registered as a Republican to vote for Haley because Trump is the worst and Biden didn't need my help. How popular is this line of thinking? I don't know. No one I've spoken with has followed this strategy.

    If Cohn is going to assert that some appreciable (how vague is his diction?) number of Democrats are voting in Republican closed primaries, he would need to say more about how such a cat herd comes to stampede in the same direction.

    1. Cohn suggested that it was probably over 10%, perhaps well over, though the exit polls I've seen only show a slight uptick.